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What is at stake in Venezuela with the mega-elections (and why it is important beyond the results)

In a country accustomed to final junctures, crossroads and final battles, an event arrives, the next regional and local mega-elections on November 21, in which ‘all or nothing’ is no longer played, but rather not This date is expected to split the story into a before and after.

Sunday’s results in Venezuela are unlikely to produce great euphoria, nor has the campaign raised expectations of drastic course reversals for either political side. However, and paraphrasing Karl Marx, you have to “be able to hear the grass grow” to understand that there is a lot at stake in these elections.

Even beyond the results, the most important thing about these elections are the terms in which it has been convened, in the midst of a peaceful environment and a process of reinstitutionalization that will make this event the initial trigger for the design and implementation of two great strategies to face, electorally, in the coming years.

Whatever happens on Sunday in terms of the final counts, the race for the presidential elections of 2024 will begin.

If the event is viewed in projective terms, it could be discovered that it has the potential to become the most important since the opposition stubbornly pursued its abstentionist policy, promoted from Washington and that only produced an enormous hemorrhage of its accumulated forces and the definitive screwing of his opponent.

The next presidential elections could be made in an environment far from the nonsense that prevailed during these years, that of “all the cards are on the table”, imposed by former President Donald Trump in international relations on Venezuela.

Therefore, the most likely scenario is that the governing party maintains its leadership in almost all of the country’s governorates and mayors (currently it has 19 of the 23 governorates and 310 of the 335 mayors). However, once the appointment has been fulfilled, with a re-empowered electoral power, with the return of international missions and the definitive transition of the opposition to the electoral strategy, the evaluation must be located both in the numbers resulting from the polls and in the prospects towards 2024.

It is there where these regionals can unveil the spirit that will govern political passions for the next few years and will put them under electoral rationality. And that is something quite new for an opposition used to singing fraud and for a triumphant Chavismo that does not exceed 20% of the electoral roll.

The images that we will be able to observe on Sunday of the respective missions of the UN, the European Union and the Carter Center in the territory, the opposition voting, the opposition celebration for their triumph in some territories or the recognition of the referee, all of them typical actions of any event of this sign, in the Venezuelan case, they will make it inevitable to understand that there is a political normalization.

All this invites us to think that the next presidential elections could be held in an environment far from the nonsense that prevailed during these years, that of “all the cards are on the table”, imposed by former US President Donald Trump in international relations on Venezuela.

This November 21, what is worth the most is the application of the protocol. No expectations of amazing results neither by the number of voters that Chavismo moves nor by the number of governorships and mayoralties that the opposition wins. Neither because of the level of abstention.

The forces in the contest

For its part, Chavismo will try to show that it is a movement with the capacity to mobilize to face any situation, including competitive elections, and the results of this fair may be the key to whether we will see changes in the strategy for the elections of 2024.

Two governorates take center stage to verify the latter: Carabobo and Miranda. In both states are the possibilities for a hypothetical replacement of national leadership.

In Carabobo state, where Valencia, the country’s industrial city, is located, Rafael Lacava is an atypical Chavista leader who faces a historical opposition leader in this region: Enzo Scarano, who until weeks ago was in exile.

The 4 elections that are coming this year in Latin America and that will define the direction of the regionThe 4 elections that are coming this year in Latin America and that will define the direction of the region

In the state of Miranda, considered the main one in the country in political terms, the Chavista standard-bearer Hector Rodriguez, a leader of the quarries, faces a scenario that a few days ago was unexpected: the resignation of the candidacy of the leader Carlos Ocariz, of the Primero Justicia party, and with it, a candidacy of David Uzcátegui, who is now alone, far away of the ghost of the opposition division, to confront Chavismo.

On the part of the opposition, there are two key places.

On the one hand, the Governorate of Zulia, the largest state in Venezuela, where Manuel Rosales placeholder image he could become an opposition candidate automatically. In fact, he already aspired to the Presidency in 2006 and then spent long years abroad.

And on the other, the mayor of Caracas, where Primero Justicia, the party of Henrique Capriles, opposition leader and former presidential candidate in 2012, nominated a national leader as Tomás Guanipa.

Both forces try to block, as in dominoes, the plays of their opponents in these spaces.

Radical scenarios

Could it be expected that, in a scenario of extremely high abstention where the ruling party is sweeping away, it will end up re-driving the coup and interventionist narrative of the radical opposition? It is unlikely because the opposition political parties, regardless of the electoral result, do not want to re-enact the abstentionist logic and have no incentive to do so. They have already been minimally reactivated and some minimum space should advance, since they currently have very few governors and mayors.

Finally, in Venezuelan politics a ‘D-Day’ is not expected, nor a before and after, but one more step towards political normalization and a respective cold evaluation to begin to design the strategy for 2024.

Could the US be expected to condemn the elections in the last few minutes and return to the abstentionist line? It would be a start more like a Trump hell-bent on winning Florida than a Joe Biden who wants to take the pressure off his backyard.

Could it happen that the opposition votes en masse and repeats the victory of 2015? It is very unlikely, since it dynamited all its political scaffolding and the accumulated accumulated achieved, producing strong discredit and a division that makes its maximum political bet, such as ‘the interim Guaidó’, still pull the strings to ignore the electoral environment and call abstention between the lines.

In this sense, the MEP and father of Leopoldo López has been the spokesperson for the right-wing parliamentary group that has desisted from participating in the European Union observation mission. With this, what message could he have sent to the candidates and the rank and file of his Voluntad Popular party and all those who followed the interim office that is not one of apathy and unease on the electoral path?

Finally, in Venezuelan politics a ‘D-Day’ is not expected, nor a before and after, but one more step towards political normalization and a respective cold evaluation to begin to design the strategy for 2024.

Ociel Ali Lopez

He is a sociologist, political analyst and professor at the Central University of Venezuela. He has been the winner of the 2015 Municipal Prize for Literature with his book Give him more gasoline and the Clacso / Sida prize for young researchers in 2004. Collaborator in various media in Europe, the United States and Latin America.

The statements and opinions expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of RT.

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