Venezuela Election: Socialists Win Zulia Governorship, Nearly Sweep State Capitals

CNE Vice President Sandra Oblitas

These elections were accompanied by 9,139,564 voters,” announced Sandra Oblitas, vice president of the National Electoral Council.

Dec 10 (teleSur) Candidates for Venezuela’s Socialist Party took 23 of 24 state capitals as well as the governorship for the state of Zulia, Election authorities announced as they released partial results in Sunday’s municipal election.

“These elections were accompanied by 9,139,564 voters,” announced Sandra Oblitas, vice president of the National Electoral Council, or CNE, amounting to 47.32 percent voter turn out.

CNE officials presented partial results for the capitals of the 23 states as well as Caracas, with candidates for the United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV) taking all but the top mayor position in Tachira state.

Omar Prieto of the PSUV also won the governorship for the state of Zulia, leaving the PSUV in all but four of the country’s 23 states. The post in the key state was vacated after the opposition politician who won the Oct. 15 regional elections refused to be sworn in by the Constituent Assembly.

Earlier in the day, Venezuelan president Nicolas Maduro lauded the participation.

“There is an extraordinary electoral participation,” Maduro said Sunday. “I want to thank the people of Venezuela who have come to the voting centers to exercise their right to vote.”

Maduro stressed that “certified, reliable and audited results of the 335 municipalities in the country” would be given Sunday night.

With 19.7 million eligible voters, Maduro had called on people to vote in what is the South American nation’s third election this year.

“December 10 has arrived and the Venezuelan people have a new encounter with democracy, with peace and sovereignty,” Maduro tweeted in the early hours as polls opened.

“Today we all have a sacred duty to express ourselves through a vote to consolidate a great popular victory.”

Venezuelan National Electoral Council, CNE, official Tania D’Amelio has announced Saturday that 99.98 percent of polling stations have been successfully installed for local elections.

Mayors for 335 municipalities throughout the country and a governor for Zulia state will be elected.

D’Amelio detailed the remaining polling stations that are set to be installed: two in the municipality of Masparrito Barinas, three in the municipality of Maroa and one in the municipality Alto Orinoco of the Amazonas state. She added that voters will be able to cast their ballots in centers nearby their homes and not at those that had been relocated in the previous elections, due to right-wing violence that flared during the opposition protests.

During the July 30 National Constituent Assembly, ANC, elections, the CNE decided to change the voting locations of some voters to prevent acts of violence by sectors of the Venezuelan right. These changes were maintained for the governors’ elections on Oct. 15. Now, the electors will exercise their right to suffrage near their homes.

International observers have arrived in Venezuela and are overseeing the final installation of tables and electoral machines throughout Saturday.

Sunday marks Venezuela’s third election in less than six months and the 24th in the last 18 years.

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