Low turnout in Venezuela state elections could hamper opposition chances to gain political ground on Chavez
Election Monitor - Venezuela
Maplecroft’s pre-Election Monitor for Venezuela provides forecasts of the likely outcome of the upcoming state elections and analyses the potential business implications associated with the opposition gaining political traction.
Despite the opposition’s failure to oust Chavez in the presidential elections in October, opportunities to somewhat reduce Chavez’s political mandate will be provided in the state elections. If the opposition can at least retain the five seats and at most win control of others, they will not only increase their power base but will also be given a stronger mandate to challenge the implementation of Chavez’s policies that the opposition deem detrimental to Venezuela’s development at the regional level. Indeed the opposition hope that the electorate will vote against PSUV representatives in reaction to issues of key importance such as economic uncertainty and heightened security risks.
However, voter apathy and the potential demoralisation of opposition supporters is expected to contribute to a low turnout – a scenario that MUD presidential candidate Capriles strongly warned against, arguing that abstention is an inefficient means of protesting government policy.
Capitalising on momentum following the presidential election result, Chavez is expected to ensure his personal presence in key states due to be contested in order to bolster support for his hand-picked high-profile gubernatorial candidates. This will also include the disbursement of vast campaign resources for PSUV representatives in states such as Miranda and Zulia, putting MUD candidates at a significant disadvantage.
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