Updated 06:50 AM EST, Thu, Nov 26, 2020

Venezuela Heads Toward a Big Election

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Venezuela is headed toward a decisive election this weekend. For the first time in more than a decade, Chavismo is in danger of losing its majority in legislative elections on Sunday.

The assembly has been dominated by first Hugo Chavez and then Nicolas Maduro's Chavista party members for more than a decade. They solidified their grip on power in 2010, by securing 99 of the 165 legislative seats, they passed reforms benefiting the party during the last legislative election.

For the first time in many years the pro-Chavez forces risk losing control of the Assembly. Among the factors that could have an adverse impact on the Maduro administration is the serious economic situation, a low polling for the president and high level of crime, according to Daniel Zovatto, nonresident fellow, Latin America Initiative, the Brookings Institute.  According to a prominent Venezuelan polling site Datanalisis, 84 percent of Venezuelans thin the country is headed in the wrong direction while 13 percent see Venezuela in a positive light.

The situation in Venezuela is clear, it is at a precipice. There are huge shortages of essential food, medicines and a dangerous spike in violent crime. There is also a breakdown of health services and a sharp fall in real incomes. The International Crisis group issued a statement in July stating these very facts and expressing concern over the dire situation in Venezuela.

Two weeks ahead of these elections, Luis Diaz, a leader of the opposition Democratic Action party in Guarico state in the country's central plains, was shot toward the end of a public meeting. This was only the latest in a series of violence during the Venezuelan campaign season. Police on Monday arrested several people in connection with the killing of the opposition leader. The murder of Diaz shook Venezuelans and there was an outcry international denunciation ahead of Sunday's election.

With these elections the risk of not having a fair and credible election runs high.

Venezuelans have apparently no confidence in the election process. According to the International Crisis Group, in one mid-2015 poll, 50 percent of respondents said they had "no confidence"

According to Zovatto, 2006, Venezuela has impeded the presence of electoral observation missions except for the accompaniment" missions of the Union of South American Nations (UNSAUR), whose methodology differs significantly from that of the Organization of American States. The Organization of American States has deployed said Zovatto to more than 200 electoral observation missions which are, with very few exceptions, widely recognized. The OAS is interested in observing these elections and would like to see a formal invitation sent to the organization by the Maduro government.

There is said to be a very tense and complicated atmosphere in Venezuela. The country faces a tough road ahead and the region cannot sit silent while the country is in a crisis. The opposition may well win these elections and what lies ahead of this, if this were to happen is unknown. Maduro has said that he may take to the streets if he were to lose the majority of the Assembly. What this portends for Venezuelans is not known.

Venezuelans needs the region to stand with them and make sure these elections are free and fair for Venezuela.

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