Municipal elections took on 10 December 2017 in Venezuela, electing 335 mayors. There was also an election for the governorship of the Zulia state. This was the 24th national election in Venezuela since 1998 and the third in less than 4 months, with Presidential elections set to take place next year.
The total number of candidates was 1,568, with voting taking place in 14,384 polling stations. There were 32,700 electronic machines to vote.
9,139.564 people voted, a turnout of 47.23% of the voting population, which compares favourably with the turnout of less than 30% for all six elections for Britain’s ‘metro mayors’ elections in May this year.
The turnout is particularly impressive considering that a number of right-wing opposition parties announced they would be boycotting the election. Nonetheless, and reflecting on-going divisions within Venezuela’s right-wing opposition, several other opposition parties did participate by fielding candidates. Furthermore, many individuals who are members of the boycotting parties stood as ‘independents’ in many mayoralties.
With over 97% of the votes processed by the National Electoral Council (CNE), ‘Chavista’ candidates had won 23 mayoralties of the capital cities, including Caracas, losing only in San Fernando, Tachira state. The governing PSUV also won the Zulia governorship election.
As for the 335 mayoralties, Chavista candidates had won over 300 at the time of writing, whilst opposition candidates taken as a whole were successful in less than 30 mayoralties.
The CEELA (Latin American Council of Electoral Experts) observers (15 out of a total of 60 observers ) who are in Venezuela monitoring the election – including the audits carried out prior to the election, the audits during the election, and the audits planned for after the election – declared their confidence in Venezuela’s electoral system.
All successfully elected mayors are due to meet with President Maduro later this month to discuss how they can best co-operate to move forward dialogue in the country and advance solutions to the country’s ongoing difficulties, including those as a result of US sanctions against the country.
This article originally appeared on VenezuelaSolidarity.co.uk.