Venezuela’s ruling Socialist Party holds primaries for November regional elections


CARACAS, Aug.8 (Reuters) – Venezuela’s ruling Socialist Party holds a primary on Sunday to choose candidates in the November elections for governors and mayors, an election that could see the return of opposition political parties that boycotted recent polls.

Allies of President Nicolas Maduro will vie for the chance to be elected to 23 state governments and 335 municipal governments which have been a key part of the Socialist Party’s dominance in the country’s politics.

Sunday’s vote comes as the opposition and government prepare to begin a negotiation process set to start later this month in Mexico, sources told Reuters. L1N2PB320

“Winning the posts of governor and mayor in the mega-elections on November 21 will give us better governance in the country,” Maduro said on a live broadcast on state television on Tuesday. “The whole opposition knows that we will have clean and transparent elections.

Voting seemed slow in Caracas shortly after polling stations opened at 7 a.m. on Sunday. There were no queues at the polling stations.

The majority opposition boycotted the 2018 and 2020 presidential and parliamentary elections, arguing that they were rigged in favor of Maduro’s ruling Socialist Party. But an opposition coalition has declared its willingness to participate in the November elections.

In May, the National Assembly, held by the Socialists, appointed two opposition figures to a new electoral council for the first time in years. In June, the head of the electoral council said the government would allow a coalition of the main opposition political parties to field candidates in the November elections.

The opposition is still negotiating the terms of his participation in November and opposition leader Juan Guaido has not said whether or not he thinks the candidates should participate.

The opposition, backed by the United States and most Western democracies, calls Maduro a dictator who clung to power through rigged elections and persecution of opponents. Maduro, backed by Russia and China, calls Guaido a puppet of Washington seeking to oust him with a coup.

Reporting by Sarah Kinosian Editing by Alistair Bell

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