Venezuela’s National Electoral Council (CNE) awarded 20 rulings to the ruling Socialist Party and victories to three opposition politicians in a preliminary announcement on Monday following local and regional elections.
Soon after the first results were published, leftist President Nicolas Maduro celebrated the government’s victory.
“The victory is impressive,” said Maduro, surrounded by supporters, “that a good win should be celebrated.”
The result is a setback for opposition leaders, who returned to the fray after boycotting the presidential election in 2018 and the Congress in 2020, arguing that
Fair voting was impossible due to rigging and intimidation by violent gangs loyal to Maduro.
This year, opposition politicians decided to contest because they were disappointed by the failure of US sanctions to oust Maduro, as well as the presence of EU election observers.
The South American country’s top electoral authority said only 41.8% of registered voters turned out to vote on Sunday, which equates to about 8.1 million people.
“Small and isolated problems” were recorded during the poll, CNE said earlier in the day.
In the 2017 regional elections, the ruling party won 19 regimes, while opposition politicians won four.
The only mayoral result announced in the CNE’s first bulletin came from the capital, Caracas – where the ruling party was also declared victorious.
Citizens cast their votes for more than 3,000 state governors, mayors and city councils nationwide, with 21 million Venezuelans registering to participate in the election.
‘Sorry for the opposition’
The poor performance of the opposition could hurt its ability to contest the presidential election in 2024.
“The result is heartbreaking for the opposition,” Luis Vicente Leon, director of local consulting firm Dataanalysis, said in a post on Twitter.
Leader of the Opposition and former presidential candidate Henrique Capriles, who led the opposition’s campaign, said via Twitter that an assessment would be made when all the results were out and did not provide further details.
“The conclusion from these results is that we should reconsider our strategy so far,” said opposition candidate for mayor of Caracas, Tomas Guanipa.
“It cannot be denied that the vast majority of this country wants change, and so we have to fight.”