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  • Venezuela prepares to elect its 23 governors on Oct. 15.

    Venezuela prepares to elect its 23 governors on Oct. 15. | Photo: Reuters

Published 4 October 2017

The opposition's internal differences keep it changing its position on elections: first, it demands them, then it criticizes the process, then it wants to participate.

In less than two weeks Venezuelans will elect 23 governors, the country's 23rd democratic process in the 18 years of the Bolivarian Revolution, the campaign is in full swing.

Venezuela: Maduro Welcomes Opposition Participation in Regional Elections

Despite the constant criticism by the opposition that the government of President Nicolas Maduro is afraid to face elections, and its continuous call for his ouster including violent protests, they are now participating in the election and have registered 196 candidates for the governorships.

The National Electoral Council began a process so all parties could register to be official participants in the elections.

But as soon as the candidates were made public, strong differences have become evident within the opposition Democratic Unity Table alliance and its member parties.

The MUD announced it would hold primaries to elect the sole candidates that would represent a unified opposition. The leaders of the opposition coalition have elected some of its representatives, others were chosen as part of the primaries, and others through a larger consensus.

Now that the opposition has agreed to participate in elections instead of calling all elections fraudulent, it will have to resolve the contradiction that the same electoral body that legitimized the regional election somehow is not authorized to do the same for the National Constituent Assembly.

Venezuela Can Give US 'Free and Fair Elections' Lessons!

It accused the CNE on July 30 of committing electoral fraud as more than eight million voted to choose the ANC representatives.

For the governors to be elected on Oct. 15, more than 18 million voters are eligible to vote, but in Venezuela, voting is not mandatory.

The candidates for the governorships are either from the governing United Socialist Party of Venezuela or an opposition candidate from a specific party which makes up the MUD alliance.

“Next Sunday 15, millions of Venezuelans will go to vote,” Eleazar Diaz Rangel, Venezuelan political analyst and journalist said, “It is not known how many won’t go to vote. Abstention can be high. It’s not easy to make predictions or forecasts, there are 23 elections with different characteristics, although we agree that in the majority there will be only two candidates, government, and opposition."

For the 23 candidates of the PSUV, the campaign reflects the key issue to maintain and deepen the Bolivarian Revolution and its social gains, as the way to resolve the country's problems.

196 Opposition Candidates Stand in Venezuelan Election

The elections will be held as the government continues to attempt to hold a dialogue in the Dominican Republic with the opposition, even though the opposition failed to show up to the second round of talks last week; and as the violent right-wing protests that hit the country in the Spring, which killed over 120 people, have disappeared.

"Our moral and political obligation is to make true peace, so it can be consolidated and permanent,” Aristobulo Isturiz, PSUV leader said in a recent interview. “Only this way will we be able to face the following steps: continue to fight the economic war and build a productive economic model for the people."

Meanwhile, the opposition continues to call for the removal of the current elected government, despite the popular rejection of its violent actions, which led to several members of the MUD leaving the alliance.

The MUD has said they are sure they will win all 23 governorships and from that point on, the struggle will focus on getting rid of Maduro.

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