Caracas, Venezuela (ViaNews) – After the October 15 election to choose the country’s 23 state governors, the Venezuelan government has repositioned its dominance in the vast majority of the country’s governorates. This victory of the Great Patriotic Pole (GPP) has generated a negative balance in the national opposition, led mainly by the coalition of parties that form the Mesa de la Unidad Democrática (MUD).
In this report, we wish to highlight some critical elections’ irregularities, so to describe the adverse opinions of the national opposition leaders, and demonstrate how, as a result of this electoral defeat, the Venezuelan opposition must consider rebuilding their foundations and its representatives.
According to the National Electoral Council (CNE), there was a 61% turnout in the election. This can be considered a low percentage, in relation to other elections ever since Nicolas Maduro took power in 2013. This figure might demonstrate the discontentment with their leaders from the majority of opponents who chose to participate in an electoral process led by an alleged corrupted CNE. Unrest and street protests followed, causing the death of more than 100 young people, a conflict that the opposition leaders encouraged from the beginning.
These elections were allegedly full of irregularities. One the most alleged notable irregularities took place two days before the voting. The electoral body relocated more than 250 polling centers, many of them located in areas where the opposition had previously won, and in which around half a million people have voted. This fact was emphasized by the only opposition rector of the CNE, Luis Emilio Rondón. After the election results, the MUD issued a statement denouncing various irregularities, such as “technical” problems in the voting machines, intimidation of opposition voters inside and outside the polling stations, irregular extensions after the official closing of the polling stations, among others.
At the international level, the governments of Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Panama, Paraguay and Peru requested the creation of an “independent audit” to deal with irregularities, obstacles, manipulation and acts of intimidation during election day, in order to provide an objective response to the controversy generated by the final and irreversible result.
A remarkable fact was that four of the five victorious opposition leaders were from the Democratic Action (AD) party. They were later allegedly forced by the government to be “sworn in” before the National Constituent Assembly (ANC), something that was not well seen by the entire opposition. In the face of this, the leader of the First Justice Party (PJ), Henríque Capriles, reiterated that AD must leave the way free for the future of the opposition because it “needs to remove the tumor. It is time to reorganize the alliance (MUD), and as long as Ramos Allup (AD leader) is there, I do not return”. The only opponent who was not “sworn in” before the ANC was governor-elect Juan Guanipa (PJ) for the state with the highest oil production in the country (Zulia), so the government chose to dismiss him and start a new election for that particular state. The elections will take place at the end of December, when Manuel Rosales, leader of the opposition party Un Nuevo Tiempo (UNT), will run for Guanipa.
On the other hand, María Corina Machado, leader of the Vente Venezuela (VV) party, considered that the swearing-in of opposition governors adept at AD signifies the “close of cycle” within the Venezuelan opposition. Also, she stated that a new genuinely opposition coalition should be created to take into account the clamor of the people that did not go to vote as a way of denouncing the dictatorship and the false opposition. In line with this argument, Freddy Guevara, leader of the Popular Will Party (VP), affirmed that it is necessary to hold internal elections in the MUD as soon as possible, “thus renewing the representation of the Venezuelan opposition in recent years”.
It is evident that there is an internal breakdown in the Venezuelan opposition and that this generates great frustration among Venezuelan people. The government is aware that it must act as quickly as possible if it wants to take advantage of this breakthrough to continue positioning itself in all political spaces. In view of this, Nicolás Maduro’s authoritarian government assured that the municipal elections will be brought forward and carried out at the end of 2017 (on December, 10). All the opposition parties mentioned above refused to participate in this new electoral process because they considered it a flawed election since its inception, except for the Social-Christian Party (COPEI) who argued that it would be absurd to leave the road free for the next municipal election.
Finally, it is important to underline the prevailing need of the Venezuelan people to create genuine Venezuelan opposition, an issue that is already being worked on by both PJ and VP. This new creation should not only serve to propose new faces in the Venezuelan opposition but also as an instrument to eradicate the present moments of uncertainty, chaos, and darkness that permeate the life of the Venezuelan people.