EspañolControversy continues to surround the results of gubernatorial elections held in Venezuela this Sunday, October 15, as dictator Nicolás Maduro’s United Socialist Party took at least 17 of 23 states despite record inflation, widespread shortages of food and medicine and violent repression of the opposition.
The National Electoral Council, which oversees all election processes in the country and openly supports the Maduro regime, announced the results at 10pm local time: The United Socialist Party won the states of Amazonas, Aragua, Barinas, Carabobo, Cojedes, Falcón, Guárico, Miranda, Monagas, Portuguesa, Sucre, Trujillo, Yaracuy, Delta Amacuro and Vargas, while the opposition coalition Democratic Unity Roundtable (or MUD by its Spanish acronym), only managed to win in Merida, Zulia, Táchira and Anzoátegui.
There is still no clear winner for the state of Bolivar.
#Venezuela | CNE anuncia 17 gobernaciones a favor del chavismo y MUD denuncia fraude https://t.co/i9B7mPPOQF #15Oct (vía @EfectoCocuyo) pic.twitter.com/mzgg425f9t
— PanAm Post Español (@PanAmPost_es) October 16, 2017
The elections shifted power to the Maduro regime in several key states, including Miranda. Héctor Rodríguez defeated Justice First candidate Carlos Ocariz. In Carabobo, Popular Will candidate Alejandro Feo La Cruz lost to Rafael Lacava. However, the opposition won in the states of Merida and Táchira, as well as in Zulia.
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The official results once again turn the map of Venezuela red, with government polls showing that 54 percent of the country turned out in support of Maduro. Even before the National Electoral Council made the announcement, MUD had already brought up the possibility of voter fraud, which had been a concern as soon as the opposition agreed to participate.
Earlier this year, the Maduro regime held an election for a National Constituent Assembly that ultimately replaced the government’s legislative body, the National Assembly, through an election that Reuters and other third-party sources said was rigged by as many as a million votes.
MUD decided to participate in these regional elections nonetheless, knowing full well that they could be, and probably would be, rigged by Maduro.
Information from Nelson Bocaranda, one of the most recognized journalists in Venezuela, had the opposition winning at least 11 seats against Maduro, including in the states of Miranda, Lara, Táchira, Mérida, Zulia, Nueva Esparta, Amazonas Falcón and Bolívar.
Opposition campaign director Gerardo Blyde said Sunday’s numbers were not going to coincide with those of the dictatorship, and warned against similar levels of fraud. Now, the opposition is organizing demonstrations against the results.
“We try to play by the rules, even as they kept changing those rules on us, but now it’s urgent for us to unify behind a united policy and common criteria,” the opposition leader said, and invited all Venezuelan opposition forces, even if they differ on some issues, to come together to organize a new strategy for dealing with the fraudulent results.