Merida, November 11th, 2010 (Venezuelanalysis.com) – Due to terms expiring, deaths, or abandonment of their position, 1,761,961 Venezuelans and foreign residents will be able to vote in 11 mayoral elections and for the governors of Guarico and Amazonas states on 5 December. Among the opposition candidates is the wife of Manuel Rosales, presidential candidate in 2006 who has since fled the country following corruption charges.
The United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV) governor of Guarico, William Lara, died in an accident in September, but as his term was less than two years, the governor elected next month will only have a two year term.
The term for the new governor of Amazonas state, however, is the standard four years. In 2000 the results of the governmental elections were contested, with the opposition initially winning by 200 votes and the Chavez supporters claiming fraud. In the second elections the opposition lost by 500 votes, and since then the Amazonas elections have been out of sync with the regional elections, which were held at the end of 2008.
The current governor of Amazonas, a thinly populated state with almost half its inhabitants being indigenous, is also a member of the PSUV.
Mayor of Maracaibo (Zulia state), Manuel Rosales, fled to Peru in April last year. The Municipal Council of Maracaibo named opposition member Daniel Ponne as the interim mayor.
Legislator Mario Isea said the city of Maracaibo under the opposition had been “abandoned” and that essential services were in a bad state, the city police weren’t working and 300 fire-fighters had been fired “unfairly”. He accused the opposition of diverting resources from wages and services to their electoral campaign.
Now Rosales’ wife Eveling Trejo de Rosales is the opposition candidate for the seat. According to PSUV leader Henry Ramirez, her husband “ordered” that she be the candidate.
Even though the opposition held primaries for this seat, Ramirez told press Trejo was only elected because of the “personal economic project that [Manuel] Rosales set up in Zulia and a ferocious media campaign”.
The PSUV candidate for the position, Gian Carlo Di Martino, has been Mayor of Maracaibo on two occasions in the past.
Of the other mayoral positions, opposition mayor of Arismendi municipality (Nuevo Esparta state) died of cancer in April. The PSUV mayor of Bocono (Trujillo state) died by drowning last year, and the opposition mayor of Panamericano (Tachira state) was murdered.
The terms concluded for the mayors of Achagas (Apure state), Miranda (Carabobo state), Carrizal (Miranda state), Manuel Monge and Nirgua (Yaracuy state), Miranda (Trujillo state) and Miranda (Zulia state). Of these, four mayors were in the PSUV.
All mayors will be elected for complete four-year periods, though the National Electoral Council (CNE) has said that they should eventually return to the national schedule.
Late last month the PSUV announced its candidates for the two governors. For Guárico, current director of the University Romulo Gallegos, Luis Gallardo will run, and for Amazonas, current National Assembly legislator Egildo Palau will contest for the PSUV. The party leadership chose both candidates as well as its mayoral candidates, four of which are re-contesting their positions.
Next week the PSUV will raise money for its electoral campaign by encouraging its membership to donate “one day’s salary for the revolution”.
Candidate’s political campaigning will commence on 23 November and close 2 December for a total period of 10 days.
According to the law, the same people who were randomly selected to run the voting booths for the parliamentary elections in September, will also work at the booths on 5 December. The next nation-wide regional elections will be in 2012.