Members of the Opposition were seen fighting against each other again – at least in three of the 19 states in which primary elections were held last week. This should not have happened, since the behavior observed in the states of Amazonas, Aragua and Yaracuy is not good for the democratic sectors of the country. Actually, these are only a few spots for a process that was successful.
The Democratic Unity Roundtable (MUD) opposition coalition has already defined 20 of 23 candidates for governor. This represents a significant step forward that we hope finishes with the definition of the three remaining candidates. The example set by Juan Requesens, in the first place, and Manuel Rosales, who recognized their defeats and made themselves available for supporting the winners in their electoral campaigns, is what those people caught up in the pointless disputes in the three abovementioned states should emulate.
The Government finds itself "celebrating" the poor turnout at last Sunday’s Opposition primaries. Jorge Rodríguez, mayor of Caracas’ Libertador municipality, said voters were only 300,000. The MUD claimed that 6.7% of the electoral register in the states where primaries were held participated. We would have liked to see a higher turnout, but we guess that the number is still pretty solid.
In any case, more people participated than in the selection of the Government’s candidates. There the decision was made by two individuals.
Now, the road ahead of the democratic candidates is not an easy one.
No electoral campaign is, but under Venezuelan circumstances will still be much harder than normal. It should come as no surprise to anyone that the four members of the United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV) that make up the board of directors of the National Electoral Council (CNE) make decisions to make the voting process more difficult and overshadow the final results.
The Government, at all its levels, will take measures to encourage abstention and divide the democratic electorate and its political parties. We take that for granted. And that is the main challenge for the MUD to take on.
However, we believe that the real enemy here is abstention. If a similar voter turnout to that of any regional election in the past is achieved, the candidates of Nicolás Maduro are going to suffer a resounding defeat.
The democratic candidates and organizations behind them must focus their efforts to explain and convince people of the importance of governorates to rescue democracy in the country and to improve their deteriorating quality of life.
Taking abstention to historic lows is defeating the candidates of Maduro, because it will make clear that the majority of Venezuelans reject the administration of the PSUV in all states. Achieving this goal is a must.