In Venezuela, the opposition conquers the family stronghold of Hugo Chavez

Chavismo has lost Barinas. In this state of western Venezuela, homeland and family stronghold of the late Hugo Chavez (1999-2013), voters returned to the polls on Sunday January 9 to elect their governor, the Supreme Court having canceled the ballot scheduled for November 21, 2021 in this constituency. And this time, opposition candidate Sergio Garrido, 54, won the vote hands down with 55.36% of the vote. The Socialist United Party of Venezuela (PSUV) candidate Jorge Arreaza, 48, came in second with 41.27%.

This local opposition victory does little to change the electoral map, with the ruling PSUV having won 19 of the 23 contending states in November, inflicting a severe defeat on a very divided opposition. But it has symbolic value. For twenty years, the State of Barinas had been ruled by a member of the Hugo Chavez family, his father first, then his two brothers.

Some people want to believe that the victory of Mr. Garrido is likely to change the political situation at the national level. “Barinas, cradle and tomb of Chavismo”, launched an opponent on Twitter. “This may not be the beginning of the end, considers, more cautious, Cesar Batiz, director of the media El Pitazo. But it is indeed possible to hope that the symbolic weight of this victory will revive the unity of the opposition and cause fractures within the power in place. “

The ballot took place without major incident

The victory in Barinas gives reason to the moderate wing of the opposition which, after several years of electoral boycott, had agreed to participate in the election of November 21, 2021 and defends the option of a democratic transition. The radical wing continues to advocate abstention, considering that electoral participation is the game of power.

Some 600,000 voters were called to vote. The ballot took place without major incident. At the beginning of the afternoon, the two camps were delighted with the increase in the number of voters compared to the previous ballot. Then, a little before 10 p.m., Jorge Arreaza admitted defeat on Twitter. “The information that we receive from the structures of the PSUV indicates that, although we have made progress in the number of votes, we have not reached our objective. ” His defeat created a surprise: the authorities had not skimped on the means to ensure their victory.

Read also Article reserved for our subscribers In Venezuela, the opposition’s return to the polls

In November, justice had canceled the ballot while the opposition candidate, Freddy Superlano, led with 37.6% of the vote, against 37.21% for Argenis Chavez, the governor in place who finally gave up standing . Opponents have obviously shouted fraud and denounced, once again, the lack of independence of electoral authorities and judges. As if to prove them right, the National Electoral Council then declared Freddy Superlano ineligible, then his wife, who had been approached to replace him. The opposition had no other choice, then, than to nominate as candidate for the January 9 ballot a local elected official, very little known to the voters.

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In Venezuela, the opposition conquers the family stronghold of Hugo Chavez

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