After boycotting past elections over allegations of fraud and intimidation the Venezuelan opposition is returning to the ballot box today. Although the process is rigged, it argues that it wants to once more rally a disillusioned electorate ahead of the presidential vote scheduled for 2024. This article is published by Democracy Digest. Here is an excerpt:
Venezuela’s opposition will make a return to the ballot box on Sunday, putting up candidates in gubernatorial and mayoral races across the country, an about-face they say is meant to rally a disillusioned electorate ahead of a future presidential vote, which should legally take place in 2024. The conditions — while nominally better than in past years, according to the nonpartisan Venezuelan Electoral Observatory — are far from freely democratic, and the shift is a gamble for the opposition, The Times reports:
[Nicolas] Maduro, who faces both economic sanctions and an investigation in the International Criminal Court, is hungry for democratic legitimacy, and he is likely to use the election to push the United States and the European Union to ease their positions against him….the Venezuelan Electoral Observatory said that while the government had allowed a broader spectrum of participation in this election than in past years, it continued to “restrict full freedom to exercise suffrage” in myriad ways, among them the illegal use of public funds to campaign for the ruling party.
The proliferation of autocrats who love to stage presidential elections is a surprising political phenomenon, notes analyst Moises Naim. Of course, we’re not talking about free and fair elections that a dictator might lose. Oh no, he writes for El Pais. What they want is an exercise that gives off the illusion – or at least the passing aroma – of democracy, but where their victory is securely guaranteed.
Read the full article here.