Venezuelans voted on Sunday in elections for 23 regional governors, the 23rd national vote (election or referenda) in Venezuela since 1998.
The turnout was a healthy 61.14% (one of the highest in 18 years for regional elections), with 13,599 polling stations open across the country; plus 24,700 election machines, 90,822 election officers and about 54,000 technical and operational personnel.
The governing PSUV Party now has 17 governors and got 54 % of the popular vote. Compared to the previous elections for the same positions five years ago, the MUD opposition coalition is up from three governors to five, with one still to declare.
There were over 1300 international observers of the elections, including representatives of CEELA (the Council of Electoral Experts of Latin America).
Prior to the election, 11 audits of the voting system took place and 3 more on election day itself, involving representatives of both pro- and anti-government parties.
President Maduro has indicated his support for a “100% audit” all paper ballots from the vote (in the Venezuelan system, every electronic vote is backed up by a paper ballot.)
Further elections will now take place in Venezuela next year – municipal elections and elections for the Presidency at the end of the year.
Responding to the elections, VSC Secretary Francisco Dominguez said, “These elections should be respected internationally and it should be welcomed that so many Venezuelans took part in the democratic process.
The reduction of support for right-wing opposition parties since December 2015 also illustrates the frustration many Venezuelans have with the violent methods chosen by elements of the opposition.
Additionally, the results of latest election again show the polarised nature of Venezuelan society, and are therefore further confirmation of the need for dialogue in Venezuela.
President Trump’s ongoing hostility and sanctions against the country do not facilitate such a dialogue, but instead exacerbate the country’s difficulties and divisions.”