Venezuela Regional Elections 2021

November 20, 2021

Venezuela Regional Elections 2021

Venezuela Regional Elections 2021 took place on 21 November. President Maduro is not on the ballot for Sunday’s elections across Venezuela and the winners of the gubernatorial and local races likely won’t be well known beyond their country’s borders.

But the regional elections could play a pivotal role in determining whether the South American country can find a way for its years-long political stalemate.

It’s the first time since 2017 that opposition groups will compete against President Nicolas Maduro’s United Socialist Party, indicating a shift in the opposition’s previous boycott tactics.

“We’re going to describe what we have seen, we’re going to make recommendations based on international principles for elections, and we do not think in any way that we are legitimizing or delegitimizing (the election),” said Xabier Meilan., deputy chief observer of the EU Election Observation Mission.

In another unusual turn, the European Union will send observers for Sunday’s vote, the first time the bloc has sent a delegation to monitor elections in the country in 15 years. They, along with the United Nations and the U.S.-based Carter Center, will assess whether the elections are free and fair.

More than 21 million Venezuelans are eligible to vote in over 3,000 contests, including 23 governorships and 335 mayor ships. More than 70,000 candidates entered the race.

“The elections are incredibly important because they represent a time when the opposition has agreed to participate, albeit divided over the value of doing so,” said Cynthia Arnson, director of the Latin American Program at the Washington-based Wilson Center. “It represents evidence of an incremental step toward electoral participation.”
The consequences of regional elections

What will happen when Venezuela Regional Elections 2021 ends

When Venezuela Regional Elections 2021 ends on Sunday, Maduro’s government will still be in place, as will the sanctions imposed by successive U.S. administrations. If things are to change, a new approach from the Biden administration may be necessary.

That could start with offering Venezuelan authorities a road map of actions that would lead toward easing sanctions, akin to what Iran was offered in April.

Sunday’s elections could mark the emergence of new opposition leaders, consolidate alliances and draw the lines to be followed by Maduro’s adversaries, who arrive at these elections decimated by internal fractures, often rooted in their frustration at not being able to knock from power the heirs of the late President Hugo.

In May, the National Assembly, now with a pro-Maduro majority, appointed two well-known opponents as members of the council’s leadership, including an activist who was imprisoned over accusations of participating in actions to destabilize the government.

It’s the first time since 2005 that the Venezuelan opposition has more than one member on the board of the five-person electoral body.

“The one thing that I would like to see is much more Latin American voices in this place. But they’re just not showing up,” AS/COA’s Farnsworth said. “And so then, it comes back to the United States. And that’s not fair necessarily, because that’s not where we want to be, but we’re forced into that role because nobody else is taking the leadership.”

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