Venezuela Set for Parliamentary Elections as Campaign Ends

President Maduro threatened to quit should the opposition win a majority in next Sunday’s elections.

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The pro-government alliance held a closing rally in Caracas. (PSUV)
The pro-government alliance held a closing rally in Caracas. (PSUV)
By Manuela Solé
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Mérida, December 4, 2020 (venezuelanalysis.com) - Venezuelan political parties wrapped up their electoral campaigns ahead of Sunday’s parliamentary elections.

After a month of limited campaigning in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic, various closing events were held during the week, with the curtain officially falling for the campaign on Thursday.

The ruling United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV) and its allies held rallies across the country in recent days.

In Carabobo State, PSUV Vice President Diosdado Cabello, who heads the party’s national list, vowed that the pro-government candidates would defend people’s rights and confront the harm caused by US sanctions.

“It hasn’t been easy, we’ve practically been at war for five years,” he said. “But December 6 is our turn and we’re going for a home run.”

President Nicolas Maduro struck a different tone and likened the vote to a plebiscite, threatening to leave should the opposition win.

"If the opposition wins again I will leave the presidency… I won't stay here any longer. I leave my destiny in Venezuela's hands," he said on Tuesday during a televised address. On Thursday, Maduro endorsed the idea of renewing dialogue with other sectors after the elections, as well as an eventual “co-government” to incorporate proposals from the opposition.

The recently formed Popular Revolutionary Alternative (APR), which concentrates several leftwing forces that decided to break with the government’s candidates nationwide, held a closing rally in front of the National Pantheon in Caracas.

Deputy Yul Jabour, APR candidate in Caracas and member of the Venezuelan Communist Party Central Committee, spoke at the rally and called for a “revolutionary way out of the crisis."

“There have been attempts to silence popular struggles, but our voices won’t be silenced,” Jabour told the crowd. The APR has denounced “censorship” in state media outlets, as well as cases of judicial persecution against candidates.

In Anzoategui state, a street rally was the closing event for opposition deputies Jose Brito and Richard Arteaga, who are standing for reelection. They represent right-wing parties Venezuela First, Popular Will, and Venezuela United, who have submitted a unified candidate list for the upcoming vote.

“The conscience of every Venezuelan holds the most powerful weapon to save the country: the vote,” Brito told supporters.

These organizations and many others decided to participate in elections in spite of the call for abstention by hardline opposition factions.

The National Electoral Council has deployed more than 30,000 voting machines to electoral centers, National Electoral Council President Indira Alfonzo informed on Thursday during a reception event for international observers.

Alfonzo welcomed observers from 17 countries, including former Ecuadorian president Rafael Correa. A host of multilateral bodies, including CARICOM, the African Union, and The Council of Latin American Electoral Experts (CEELA) will take part in the international observation mission. The European Union turned down an invitation after its demand that the vote be postponed was refused by Caracas.

Edited and with additional reporting by Ricardo Vaz from Mérida.