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What do Venezuela's regional election results say about the opposition's future?

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 David Smilde is the moderator of WOLA's blog: Venezuelan Politics and Human Rights. The views expressed are the author's own.

Here is a summary of [yesterday's regional election] results in Venezuela.


  • Hold: Miranda, Lara, Amazonas
  • Gain: None


  • Hold: Anzoategui, Apure, Aragua, Barinas, Bolívar, Cojedes, Delta Amacuro, Falcón, Guárico, Mérida, Portuguesa, Sucre, Trujillo, Vargas, Yaracuy
  • Gain: Carabobo, Monagas, Nueva Esparta, Táchira, Zulia.

Taken as a referendum on Chávez’s legacy and the carryover of his charisma to other candidates, this result provides clear reason for celebration for the Chávez coalition. It is, of course, a brutal result for the opposition which lost opposition strongholds such as Zulia, Carabobo, and Táchira – the last two by large margins – and gained none. However, it was not a fatal result insofar as Henrique Capriles squeaked out a win in Miranda.

Taken as a primary, the vote provided some clarity for the opposition. Capriles won on a night that most other opposition candidates lost, including his most viable rival, Pablo Pérez. The only other opposition candidates to win are “dissidents” who were pro-Chávez only a couple of years ago. Thus there is little chance that they could be viable national leaders within the opposition coalition.


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