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Opposition Reeling after Chavistas Win Majority of Venezuela’s Governorships

ISSN:1060-4189
LADB Article ID: 80460
Category/Department: Venezuela
Date: 2017-11-10
By: Andrés Gaudín

Back-to-back electoral victories by Venezuela’s governing party have pummeled the once ascendant Mesa de la Unidad Democrática (Democratic Unity Roundtable, MUD) opposition coalition, which won a large majority in the 2015 legislative elections but has since squandered its formidable popular support. Immersed in an internal struggle––based less on ideas than on old grudges and personal ambitions––the political right has played into the hand of President Nicolás Maduro and his Partido Socialista Unido de Venezuela (United Socialist Party of Venezuela, PSUV), which now looks poised to continue governing indefinitely. Altogether, the situation is a poignant demonstration of the opposition’s inability to defeat the government by democratic means. With its loss in the 2015 parliamentary elections, the PSUV’s days seemed numbered. And for the nearly two years following, the opposition’s external allies—governments, Western political parties, and major media outlets—did all they could to reinforce that message. Now, though, all of that has been replaced by a single and central question: How did Chavismo—the political movement founded by the late president Hugo Chávez (1999-2013) and continued under Maduro—go back to winning?

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