Venezuela President Nicolas Maduro and his party will face the most difficult election since the late president Hugo Chavez first came to power, but they have considerable resources.
After a long delay, the government announced Monday that the presidential election will be held December 6. Nicholas Watson, an analyst at Teneo Intelligence, writes:“Despite the economic situation – the International Monetary Fund is forecasting a 7% contraction in 2015 – the government has greater campaign resources than the Democratic Unity Table (MUD) opposition coalition; an electoral system biased in its favor; and media dominance. On top of this, the government is likely to continue to harass opposition leaders and exploit divisions within the MUD. Although imprisoned opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez will argue that his 30-day hunger strike succeeded in its aim of forcing the CNE to announce the election date, Lopez’s radical tactics pose a challenge to MUD unity as other opposition factions espouse a gradualist approach towards the Maduro administration. Maduro is also likely to invoke Chavez’s messianic leadership, which has enduring appeal, in an attempt to win back disenchanted Chavistas; it is significant that the vote takes place on the symbolically important anniversary of Chavez’s first presidential election victory in 1998.”