Bolivarian movement wins big in Venezuela’s municipal elections

Photo by Marco Bello/Reuters: A Venezuelan soldier casts her vote at a polling station

Contributed from Victoria

Venezuela has just had municipal elections and the result was a landslide victory for the United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV). There were also important wins for candidates standing for grass roots (communal) organisations, some of which are critical of the PSUV. Together this accounted for about 75 percent of the vote and the taking of 90 percent of the contested positions.

The losers were the hard-line opposition. One reason is that they are very divided. Some of the parties boycotted and their core supporters didn’t vote. This did affect the turnout. But other hard-line opposition parties did taker part. They failed to win support. The result was conclusive.

However, the supporters of the hardliners outside Venezuela, the Trump administration and the global media monopolies have chosen to remain silent. The result doesn’t suit the narrative that the Maduro government is holding on through brute force, because it does not have the support of the Venezuelan people.

When there is a serious economic crisis, a high level of sabotage and destabalisation carried out by those wanting “regime change,” the outcome has been  remarkable.

International observers on the ground praised he electoral process and ruled it to be fair. They also pointed out that the checking and rechecking of votes was transparent and thorough.

The result of the elections surprised the pundits.

Perhaps the opposition’s having pushed the country into nine elections in three years and not respecting the process has something to do with it. Attempted intervention of the United States, its training of mercenaries in Columbia and elsewhere, an assassination attempt on President Maduro earlier this year and bankrolling of the opposition has outraged many and can’t be discounted either.

There is a fear of the return of the old oligarchy of the past, which presided over extreme wealth and privilege for a very few and poverty for the rest of the nation.

Within the Bolivarian camp there is a debate over the pathto the future. A major criticism of the government is what is considered its top down style, rather than building a society government from the grass roots up. These critics call for a government that listens more.

Despite differences, the two wings are united in what they see is the need to stop the return of the foreign backed oligarchy.

It remains that a major part of the electorate did not take part. This is not unique to Venezuela, nor in Venezuela own  history. Nor can it be said that all of those who did not vote are opponents of the government. The reasons for the failure to vote are complex.

Regardless of this, it its something the Bolivarian movement must address and resolve, if it is going to consolidate its position.

With this win under their belts, the conditions for doing this are better.

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