Venezuelan Opposition Parties to Present Unified Ticket for Regional Elections

The country will choose mayors and governors in “mega-elections” on November 21.

By Ricardo Vaz
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The Democratic Alliance brings together more than 20 opposition parties. (Archive)
The Democratic Alliance brings together more than 20 opposition parties. (Archive)

Mérida, May 22, 2021 (venezuelanalysis.com) – A number of moderate Venezuelan opposition parties will run in a joint list for upcoming gubernatorial and mayoral elections.

Gathering over 20 political groupings, the Democratic Alliance stressed its intention to take part in electoral processes in a press conference on Wednesday.

“We reject sanctions and meddling, and stress that the electoral path is the only way to secure the Venezuelan people’s wellbeing,” stated Timoteo Zambrano, secretary general of Cambiemos, one of the organizations in the coalition.

Zambrano praised “fruitful debates” involving multiple organizations and added that other “non-extremist” forces would join the pact in the coming days.

Venezuela is set to hold constitutionally mandated elections for governors and mayors, as well as regional and local legislative chambers, later this year. The newly appointed National Electoral Council announced last week that all contests will be held simultaneously in “mega-elections” on November 21.

The Democratic Alliance was formed prior to the December 2020 parliamentary elections but won only 20 out of the 277 seats in the National Assembly, with the ruling United Socialist Party (PSUV) securing an overwhelming victory after mainstream, US-backed opposition parties boycotted the vote.

The coalition brings together several minority opposition parties which broke ranks with hardline factions led by self-proclaimed “Interim President” Juan Guaidó and entered into dialogue with the Nicolás Maduro government in September 2019. Traditional opposition forces such as COPEI and Democratic Action joined the coalition following leadership disputes in which the Venezuelan Supreme Court ruled in favor of factions that favored running in elections. Emerging parties such as evangelical Hope for Change, led by 2018 presidential candidate Javier Bertucci, are also in the Democratic Alliance.

Following the poor showing in legislative elections, the moderate opposition groupings will look to secure gains in the regional contests. Among the highest-profile figures expected to be fielded on November 21 is former presidential candidate and Lara governor Henri Falcón.

“We’re committed to taking part in upcoming elections with a solid alliance in order to boost our chances of success in the regional governments,” he told reporters during Wednesday’s press conference.

Falcón will be hoping to take back the Lara governorship, having lost it to Cármen Meléndez in 2017, and held small rallies in a number of towns over the weekend. Mainstream opposition parties boycotted regional elections held in October and December 2017, with the PSUV taking 19 out of 23 governorships and 300 out of 335 mayoralties.

However, a recent dialogue between the government and some opposition sectors could lead to tighter contests this time around. A number of leading anti-government figures, including two-time former presidential candidate Henrique Capriles, praised the inclusion of two well-known opposition members in the new CNE and voiced support for a return to electoral politics.

For his part, Guaidó and loyalists have rejected the new electoral authorities as “illegitimate” and ruled out taking part in the November 21 races. The US-backed politician has insisted instead on a negotiation process towards new presidential and parliamentary elections.

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