Venezuela election results await await, with opposition governorships

89
2
Venezuela election results await await, with opposition governorships

A pro-government supporter holds a poster of late Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez during an event held by Carmen Melendez, the ruling party's candidate for mayor of Caracas, on October 29, 2021 in Caracas, Venezuela. REUTERS Leonardo Fernandez Viloria File Photo

CARACAS, Nov 25 Reuters -- Venezuelans were waiting for the election results from the former President Hugo Chavez's home state, a stronghold for the ruling Socialist Party, four days after millions of people cast ballots in regional contests across the South American nation.

The opposition took three of the 23 governorships from President Nicolas Maduro's socialists, according to a tally provided by the National Electoral Council on Monday.

The state of Barinas in western Venezuela is where Argenis Chavez, the current governor and brother of the late Venezuelan leader, is running for re-election as a socialist. Hugo Chavez, who died in 2013, was from the state.

Freddy Superlano, a member of the opposition leader Juan Guaido's party, says he is confident that the results, when released, will show that he has won the race. He bases his claim on vote tally sheets, the vast majority of which have been scrutinized.

A Superlano victory in Barinas would be symbolic, as it would leave the opposition with four governorships, the same number it held before the elections.

The results could put the country's new electoral council under a microscope. In May, the government agreed to allow two opposition officials on the five-member council. The council did not respond to a request for comment.

The United States and many Western powers have refused to recognize Maduro as the legitimate president of Venezuela since he was declared the winner of a 2018 election that was described as fraudulent by Washington, the European Union and many of Venezuela's neighbors.

Isabel Santos, head of the mission, said the EU's electoral observation mission is in Barinas. She said earlier this week that the regional elections in Venezuela were held under better conditions than those of previous contests, but she declined to say whether the vote was free and fair.

She said that the final report would be delivered in early February or at the end of January.

Diosdado Cabello, the vice president of Venezuela's Socialist Party, has harshly criticized the EU mission.

They say that they come in January, how do you think you can come to Venezuela when you want? My friend, that is not the case! Cabello said on Wednesday.