Despite polling experts estimating that Maduro’s PSUV (the United Socialist Party of Venezuela) would lose to their opposition parties’ candidates, Congress’ regional elections for each of the states twenty-three governorships have been decided. The contestation between the ruling party of Maduro and late dictator Chavez have resulted in the PSUV as capturing seventeen of the twenty-three states. The resounding victory likely means that civil unrest and protests will soon follow. This unrest results from polling experts predicting that opposition parties would win big and undermine Maduro’s leadership, but this clearly was not the case. Maduro calls this a “decisive victory” for his party and supporters.
Opposition party leaders announce that they are refusing to commend the election’s legitimacy, amid growing tensions. A mere few hours before these infamous and highly contested results were announced, opposition leaders were jubilant and showing no signs of distress. Yet, the leader of the Coalition for Democratic Unity- Ramon Guillermo Aveledo had spoken to a room full of reporters and journalists that there would be new times ahead for the Venezuelan state- new times of “historic dimensions” unseen before.
The Trump administration will likely pass sanctions to whatever moves Maduro and the PSUV use to squash the protesting and violence that will ensue as a result of these regional elections. Similar economic sanctions as Maduro’s administration had seen earlier in July as Maduro called for a referendum. A referendum that would rewrite the country’s constitution and would allow for the President to have somewhat dictatorial powers according to what is stated in its text, such as, the more complete override of other branches and executives that Maduro may encounter during his tenure. Said referendum had survived the vote with passing numbers, yet Washington had imposed sanctions on the state due to the protests and unrest that followed from the referendum results and mass pre-referendum polling indicating that such a vote would fail if brought to the people. It remains to be seen what will come of the Maduro and the PSUV’s power grab in the regional elections.