More than 21 million Venezuelans are entitled to elect the state and municipal leaders of the South American country on Sunday, in elections where the presidency of Nicolas Maduro But for many, the electoral system of Venezuela will be put to the test, discredited by the disqualification of parties and some of the most popular opposition candidates, as well as verifying the neatness of the process after years of allegations of abuse.
From early on the voters began to arrive by dropper – wearing masks due to the pandemic of the COVID-19– to the voting centers in Caracas. Many of those voters woke up early, heeded the call of the ruling party, who hours before walked the streets of the city calling to vote at the rhythm of the “bullseye”, a custom imposed by the now deceased president and former lieutenant colonel of the army. Hugo Chavez (1999-2013).
The voting process will take place between 6 in the morning (10:00 GMT) and 6 in the afternoon (22:00 GMT). Voting could be extended beyond these hours in any of the 14,202 voting centers in which there are voters to vote. The electoral authorities reported that 76% of the voting tables were open before 8 in the morning.
The first results bulletin was expected late at night
Venezuelan law prohibits the dissemination of exit polls before the first official bulletin.
State and municipal elections, which are usually held separately and abstention has been high in the past. In Venezuela’s rarefied electoral climate, the process could be considered successful if it exceeds 50%.
The ruling party – which controls almost all the institutions, mayors, governorships and the National Assembly – is the favorite to win most of the positions. Among more than 70,200 candidates, 3,082 positions will be elected, including 23 governors, 335 mayors, 253 legislators from state councils and 2,471 municipal councilors. At its peak, the opposition won six governorships and 76 mayors in 2008 and 2013, respectively.
The elections are monitored by hundreds of observers, among which the members of a European Union mission stand out – among other independent organizations – in response to a long-standing demand from the opponents of the socialist government.