Venezuela’s Maduro Wins Reelection

Over eight million Venezuelans participated in the election. Nicolas Maduro securing over 5.8 million votes won the election
Nicolas MaduroNicolas Maduro
Maduro was reelected to another six-year mandate, giving him a stranglehold on the presidency until 2025

Nicolas Maduro has been declared the winner of Sunday's presidential election, which saw a 46.1% turnout, according to Venezuela's electoral council, after the opposition called for a boycott.

With 92.6% of the vote counted, Maduro has won presidential election with 5,823,728 of the vote, National Electoral Council chief Tibisay Lucena announced.

His main adversary, Henri Falcon of the Progressive Advance party, obtained 1,820,552 votes; while the independent candidate Javier Bertucci won 925,042 votes, RT reported.

"How much have they underestimated our revolutionary people, and how much have they underestimated me," Maduro told a late-night crowd in front of the presidential palace. "And here we are, victorious."

Over eight million Venezuelans participated in the election, which witnessed a low 46.1% participation rate after opposition parties called for a boycott of the election, describing them as a "fraud"."

The process undoubtedly lacks legitimacy and as such we do not recognize it," Falcon proclaimed, even before the election results were announced.

The candidate claimed that the vote was full of irregularities and totally rigged in favor of Maduro because the mainstream opposition promoted abstention, leaving Falcon without potential voters.

On Friday, the US Treasury seemingly tried to sway public opinion and the result of Sunday's vote by officially linking Maduro to drug trade, accusing the country's "second most powerful man" Diosdado Cabello, of running a narcotics ring and sharing profits with the president.

Maduro, who himself is subject to US sanctions, repeatedly slammed Washington's punitive measures as part of a broader campaign aimed at overthrowing his government.

>Force of History

One year ago few could see crisis-beset Maduro reelected for a second term—and yet on Sunday he powered to another six-year mandate, giving him a stranglehold on the presidency until 2025. This despite presiding over the South American country's ruined economy, where food shortages are the norm and protests last year left 125 dead, AFP reported.

"We won again! We triumphed again! We are the force of history turned into a permanent popular victory!" he cried out to a crowd of supporters.

Maduro, a 55-year-old former bus driver and union leader, and ex-foreign minister, never doubted that he would be reelected in the vote.

Yet the president has struggled to gain respect as the legitimate successor to Hugo Chavez, who led Venezuela from 1999 until his death in 2013 and who anointed Maduro as his successor to perpetuate his own leftist ideology.

"His authority was born out of the legacy of Chavez, but now we have a different Maduro, who knows that he is strong and is more aggressive," Felix Seijas, head of the polling agency Delphos, told AFP.

Maduro's first term in office was turbulent: the economic crisis, rising poverty and crime, violent street protests, international sanctions and millions of Venezuelans fleeing their country.

"Five years ago I was a novice," he said recently. "Now I am a standup Maduro, with battle experience, who has confronted the oligarchy and imperialism. I have arrived, stronger than ever."

Maduro claims he is "a democratic president" battling an "economic war" launched by the political right with US support.

"He has been underestimated, not only by the opposition but also by a lot of Chavistas," said Andres Canizalez, an expert in political communication.

"But he has benefited from mistakes by others, managing also to neutralize his adversaries" within the socialist movement in power since 1999.

>Worker President

Canizalez said Maduro "went through a metamorphosis and these elections are the culmination of that process."

Lacking the charm of Chavez, Maduro had tried to copy his predecessor with long daily TV appearances, using popular language and anti-imperialist rhetoric. But he has gradually begun to create his own image.

Describing himself as a "worker president," the portly socialist leader with the thick black moustache drives a van, makes fun of his poor command of English and is ever-present on social media networks.

In a sign of his changing image, the president's campaign slogan this year was "Everyone with Maduro, loyalty and the future." In 2013, it was "Chavez forever, Maduro president."


Add new comment

Read our comment policy before posting your viewpoints