Home Venezuela Government Why Venezuela Opposition Needs November’s Elections: Caracas Chronicles

Why Venezuela Opposition Needs November’s Elections: Caracas Chronicles

Why Venezuela Opposition Needs November’s Elections: Caracas Chronicles
Ronal Labrador, via Unplash

The pro-elections instincts of opposition parties have kicked in, and the drive to participate in the regional elections—particularly intense among the grassroots and regional ranks—is taking over. Everyone there knows that the conditions are lacking and that these elections could well be the carrot followed by the stick, as has happened before. However, most parties finally announced they’re taking part in the November elections. Why? 

Participating in the November elections means more than simply grabbing what many describe as the only available option (besides doing nothing). Venezuelan political parties are designed to compete in elections. This is what they know, and this is what they need in order to exist: the possibility of acquiring power and perks through regional or national parliaments, mayorships, governorships, or (before 1998, of course) the country’s presidency—which in turn is a gateway to influence, and even wealth. This is the driver that allows parties to recruit members and build organizations. PSUV isn’t exactly the same, because the ruling party can provide more opportunities to non-elected officials—the protectorates, for instance. In the opposition, the only way to approach power is to win elections. 

In consequence, elections are an offer too hard to refuse for the opposition. The Maduro regime knows it and is using it as part of its considerable leverage in this negotiation: with its control over national institutions, chavismo can, in practice, call elections whenever it wants to and stimulate the opposition’s raison d’être, making it enter the path the government wants their adversaries to be in right now: those elections that won’t threaten the main powers and could open the possibility of sanction relief. This is why the government had no problem giving an extension on the deadline to register candidates—it was expected that many people in the opposition would want to join the electoral schedule. 

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