Blog Home

VENEZUELAN OPPOSITION LEADER VICTORIOUS

Writing on foreignpolicy.com, Juan Nagel discusses last Sunday’s gubernatorial elections in Venezuela.  The outcome was not good for opposition forces as 20 of the 23 governorships were won by pro-Chavez candidates.  Moreover, the opposition lost five of the eight seats it previously held.  Rumors about Hugo Chavez’s declining health after surgery in Cuba seemed to galvanize his base.  However, Nagel highlights two points that may give the opposition hope.  Voter turnout was very low, particularly in comparison to recent presidential elections.  Without Chavez’s charisma to catalyze campaign efforts, fewer citizens went to the polls.  Also, opposition presidential candidate Henrique Capriles was reelected in his home state of Miranda.  Should Chavez’s death spark snap presidential elections, Capriles’ status as the de facto leader of the opposition and likely candidate for the presidency remains intact.  In theory, the opposition would waste less time and energy selecting a candidate to challenge Chavez’s hand-picked successor, Vice President Nicolas Maduro.