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Despite Foreign Support, Opposition Is Weak as Venezuela Readies for Elections

LADB Article ID: 80489
Category/Department: Venezuela
Date: 2018-01-12
By: Andrés Gaudín

Venezuela is gearing up to elect a new government after the most difficult year in its recent, tumultuous history was marred by bloody street demonstrations, galloping inflation, and extreme shortages of basic products. With the ruling Partido Socialista Unido (PSUV) fortified and the opposition Mesa de la Unidad Democrática (MUD) defeated and dismembered, few doubt that the country’s embattled president, Nicolás Maduro, can be reelected for the 2019-2025 period. MUD suffered three consecutive electoral defeats between August and December––in the first, it didn’t present any candidates, and in the next two, its member parties reacted with conflicting attitudes. Still, MUD leaders agreed to participate in a bipartite dialogue with the presence of international observers in Santo Domingo, the capital of the Dominican Republic. A third round of talks, scheduled for this week, could be decisive. If the government takes advantage of an opening and calls for an election, the opposition has promised its followers it will look for a consensus candidate able to represent the 20 parties in the coalition.The problem for the coalition is its inability to agree on how to select a candidate acceptable to all opposition parties.

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