Venezuela: government and opposition start campaign

It is just over a month before regional elections in Venezuela and national platforms have started the electoral campaign. Both the Great Patriotic Pole, led by the ruling United Socialist Party of Venezuela (Psuv), and the Democratic Unity Table (MUD), which brings together the largest right-wing opposition parties, held state rallies last week.

On November 21, 3,082 public offices will be elected, including governors, state deputies, mayors and councilors. 70,244 candidacies were registered, respecting the criterion of gender parity within the parties. According to the National Electoral Council, around 80% of the schedule has already been fulfilled, including the beginning of 16 audits prior to the electoral process and the simulation of the elections, which took place last Sunday (10).

Psuv tries to maintain its presence in 90% of city halls and in 19 of 23 states. For this, they rely on the latest government measures, which aim at economic stability and managed to reduce inflation to 9.7% in September, the lowest rate in 2021. As well as on the acceleration of vaccination at the national level.

With the campaign motto “Venezuela has with which”, the vice president of the Psuv, Diosdado Cabello installed campaign committees in all states of the country, reinforcing the “1×10” method, in which each base militant is responsible for getting ten wishes. The strategy has been applied since the beginning of the Chavez governments and has guaranteed victory in 24 of the last 26 electoral processes carried out since 1998.

On the other hand, the opposition seeks to increase its presence in the states bordering Brazil and Colombia, basing its campaign on the shortcomings of the Chavez administrations, attacking mainly the national energy crisis, with blackouts and fuel shortages.

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Although the group of the four biggest opposition parties (Popular Will, First Justice, Democratic Action and Um Novo Tempo) has returned to using the MUD caption, unity is weakened.

After the parallel government corruption scandals with Venezuelan public money abroad, several candidates are trying to break away from the G4 leaders, figures such as Juan Guaidó, Leopoldo López and Júlio Borges.

According to the latest opinion polls published by Hinterlaces company, only 13% of the electorate supports the MUD, while 35% is chavismo. However, the vast majority, 52%, say they do not identify with either the government or the opposition. It is this percentage of the electorate that minority alliances seek to dispute – on the right the Democratic Alliance and on the left the Popular Revolutionary Alternative (APR).

The study also indicates that 43% of Venezuelans would support a recall referendum to shorten President Nicolas Maduro’s term from 2022.

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Disputes with European Union

Last week was also marked by an exchange of sparks between the European Union and the Venezuelan government. After signing an agreement with the National Electoral Council (CNE), authorizing the sending of an observation mission, the bloc’s foreign policy representative, Joseph Borrell declared that the decision did not imply recognition of the electoral process, “which will legitimize or delegitimize it is the final report of the mission”.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued a release condemning the statements of the European official of interference and demanding respect for the sovereignty of the country.

The president of the electoral power, Pedro Calzadilla also demanded that the European Union rectify itself, running the risk of breaking the cooperation agreement.

“It’s a warning that lights up. No country would authorize the presence of an international mission, in which its chief, its leader, its authority expresses that they come to Venezuela to support a political bias. Nobody accepts,” Calzadilla said.

:: European Union fails to recognize Juan Guaidó as interim president of Venezuela ::

Afterwards, Borrell’s advisors backtracked, stating that European diplomacy had no ties to or patronized any political sector.

In addition to the European Union, the United Nations, the Council of Electoral Experts of Latin America (Ceela) and the Carter Center will send observers for the November elections in Venezuela.

Edition: Leandro Melito

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