On Sunday 15 October, some 18 million voters are called to the polls for the regional elections in Venezuela. Twenty-three governors will be appointed. Even though the opposition coalition fears fraud and criticizes the bias of the National Electoral Council, it chose to participate in this election. A bet that has sparked divisions between the various parties and movements that make up it and calls for abstention.
For four months this year, the opposition marched through the streets of several major cities in Venezuela to call for early general elections. Demonstrations have resulted in the death of at least 125 people without the Maduro government acceding to any claim.
Stalin Gonzales is the leader of the parliamentary group of the coalition of opposition parties in the National Assembly. ” I think that after the last day of the demonstration, there was a big vacuum, ” he said. The coalition made a great mistake of positioning, communication. And after this great vacuüm, all of a sudden we were called to participate in regional elections. So everyone was a little lost. ”
And, according to him, this was immediately reflected in opinion studies. ” The levels of participation were fairly low in sectors most favorable to the opposition historically. Yes, we made a mistake and we paid the price, “he regrets.
Today, Stalin Gonzales believes that door-to-door, the work of militants, paid and allowed to re-mobilize the voters. What doubts Juan Carlos Valdez, journalist of the Venezuelan public television. He recalled that the primaries of the opposition had already had little success. ” This has caused fractures in some states. It will be difficult for them to regain the levels of participation in the 2015 legislative elections, for example, “he said.
Several Venezuelan survey institutes estimate that, depending on the participation rate, the opposition can hope to win between ten and eighteen states of the country (out of 23 states plus the capital and the federal dependencies, the islands).
Risk of fraud
Nubia Magallanes is the electoral coordinator for Unidad, the opposition coalition, in the state of Vargas. It will tour a maximum of polling stations this Sunday as it accuses the government of creating obstacles to the voting of opposition voters.
” One of the pitfalls is that they did not remove the photo of the candidates who were eliminated in the opposition primaries. So what happens? The voter can easily go wrong. Our message is, therefore to remind voters where the photograph of our candidate José Manuel Olivarès is located. And as far as polling stations are concerned, we have prepared and we know that the only piece of identification that is allowed to vote is the rolled identity card. People should be prevented from voting with a dummy card or with deceased people. You should also check that the photos match because there are members of the same family who exchange their identity card to vote twice. So we have to be very careful, we have a sharp eye. We are well prepared to fight to defend our vote. If we have to fight, we will fight, “she says.
Franck Dias is an inhabitant of Maracaibo, in the state of Zulia, bastion chaviste. He hoped for a change in governance to deal mainly with problems of insecurity. RFI took his testimony while he was jogging in the early morning along the great lake of Maracaibo.
“We used to come here in the evening around 7pm. Around 20th-21h, there were many people in this park before. Now there is nobody left, that’s why I come very early in the morning, “he says. Insecurity is linked to the economic situation. Inflation, the few jobs available. Many companies have closed. The others are betting on the future. This election is going to be like a referendum.What can happen? Eventually, we will have a governor or several governors from the opposition.We’ll see how much fraud there is or how many strange things will happen. For example, you saw that they changed the polling stations at the last moment this week? This concerns 725 000 people, many of whom will not know where to vote. ”