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In Venezuela, the crushing victory of Chavismo tarnished by a strong abstention

No surprise: the map of Venezuela is red. On the occasion of the regional elections which were held on Sunday, November 21, the United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV) indeed won twenty of the twenty-three states at stake and the capital, Caracas, which goes to a woman, Carmen Meléndez.

Not surprisingly, abstention was the main figure for the day, with 58% of voters staying at home. The figure was however, this time, eagerly awaited: the ballot indeed marked the return to the polls of the opposition parties which had boycotted the presidential election of 2018 and the parliamentarians of 2020. But the radical right, embodied by Leopoldo Lopez and Maria Corina Machado, continued to advocate abstention. « The question is whether, by voting, we accelerate the fall of the regime or if, on the contrary, we postpone it because we legitimize it », had tweeted Mme Machado Sunday morning. A figure of the opposition on the international scene, Juan Guaido maintained an ambiguous position throughout the campaign.

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The results were announced at midnight, six hours after the closing of the polls and the counting of 90.21% of the ballots. The other results – namely the names of the 334 mayors and the more than 2,500 councilors – were not communicated, with the exception of that of Caracas.

« No serious incident »

« The day took place in peace, without any serious incident marring the democratic ballot », said the president of the National Electoral Council, Pedro Calzadilla, before announcing the results. Earlier today, Isabel Santos, head of the European Union observation mission, also welcomed the conduct of the ballot. The presence of this mission, the first in fifteen years, is one of the pledges that the opposition had requested to participate in the ballot. The mission is due to submit a preliminary report on Tuesday.

In front of the cameras which accompanied him to vote in a school of the military base of Fuerte Tiuna, in Caracas, the president, Nicolas Maduro, admitted that the mission of the EU had been « Up to it » until now. A few hours earlier, the head of state had recalled in strong terms that Venezuela was a sovereign country that had no lessons to learn from anyone.

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On this sunny Sunday morning, voters were not jostling in front of the Caracas polling stations. Two streets from Plaza Francia, in the elegant district of Altamira, Simon, 27, came in jogging clothes: « I vote because voting is a right, he explains. And because it’s the only way to let Nicolas Maduro know that Venezuela is not happy.  »

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