President Nicolas Maduro’s government won a majority of governorships in Sunday’s (October 15) regional election, according to official results, drawing fraud suspicions from the opposition whom polls had shown was poised for a big win.
Electoral board president Tibisay Lucena said the ruling Socialist Party took 17 governorships, versus five for the opposition Democratic Unity coalition, with results irreversible in all but one of the 23 states.
President Nicolas Maduro hailed the victory as a win for Chavism and for democracy. Amidst complaints for the opposition, he also announced an audit of the results will be conducts.
The ruling Socialist Party had previously controlled 20 of 23 state governorships. But opinion polls had shown the opposition coalition set to upend that, given voter anger at hunger and shortages stemming from an economic meltdown.
Sunday’s surprise results raised the prospect of more unrest in Venezuela, where four months of opposition-led protests earlier this year led to 125 deaths, thousands of arrests, and widespread destruction of property.