Chavismo faces the demobilization of its bases before the legislative elections | International

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PSUV supporters at a campaign event on November 5 in San Cristóbal.Johnny Parra / EFE

The electoral campaign for the parliamentary elections of December 6 in Venezuela began in early November amid general apathy in a country that is cooking in an endless economic and social crisis. In Caracas it is much more noticeable to perceive the flow of people who are organizing to migrate than to go out to vote. Opinion polls predict an abstention of more than 70%.

The popular anchorage of Chavismo has deeply weakened over the years. However, by moving what is left of their membership they would have enough for a comfortable majority of seats. The proselytizing tours of the candidates for deputy present a soulless aspect. The ruling United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV) is facing difficulties in motivating its community leaders and promoters of the vote in impoverished areas. Advertising spots are beginning to abound offering promises and solutions on radio and television. Miraflores is interested in fostering the idea of ​​a festive atmosphere in a traditional multi-party election. The private channel Venevisión has organized some televised debates between the Chavista candidates and those of the opposition faction that has decided to participate, the moderate National Dialogue Table.

"Between 25% and 30% of the electorate say they are determined to vote," says Félix Seijas, director of the polling firm Delphos. “The vast majority continues to be the Chavista electorate, although there is a small part of opponents who demand electoral presence, and who will end up voting for these parallel opposition options. Within Chavismo, Seijas affirms, abstention ranges around 40%.

The percentage of people who continue to define themselves as "Chavista" in opinion polls has gone from 50% in a year like 2012, to 13% today. "Within the PSUV a special effort must be made, an important internal work to moralize its militancy," says Seijas. "In our measurements there is a palpable discourse: the Chavista sector speaks of the need for a new National Assembly, to remove the Opponents who sabotage and promote international sanctions." Seijas estimates that the overall turnout in parliamentary elections "will not rise above 30% and will not fall below 20."

Luis Vicente León, economist and political analyst, director of the firm Datanálisis, affirms that the levels of participation in women parliamentarians could be close to 34%. “The problem is that this is not an auditable election, it will be very uneven. There is no way to project a reliable statistical forecast regarding the number of votes ”.

The "house to house" announced by Diosdado Cabello, first vice president of the PSUV, is the reissue of a crusade in which the political-military apparatus of Chavismo deploys an ambitious logistical operation to organize its sympathizers and persuade new voters. It is a political work that has a very special emphasis on the most depressed areas of the country, and that places access to state subsidies as a condition.

Usually, thanks to the information that is leaked from the National Electoral Council itself – dominated by Chavismo – the ruling party officials evaluate the behavior of the electorate on election day in real time, and take additional decisions to add more votes. The closings of the polling stations are delayed or advanced depending on the needs of the ruling party.

The Armed Forces help the PSUV bring in voters, bringing in and out neighbors, and eventually attend the vote. Those who have not gone to vote will be knocked on their doors. In a "Red Point", installed next to each electoral center, the voter will leave his name and the testimony of his vote. By showing your Carnet de la Patria, you will be validated access to food bags and government salary bonuses.

On the opposite sidewalk, the opposition forces that decided not to attend the parliamentary elections because they considered them fraudulent, led by Juan Guaidó, are organizing the so-called Popular Consultation, an alternative event scheduled for December 12, which includes the diaspora and includes mechanisms of digital participation. The Popular Consultation invites the population to reject Maduro's call and to organize honest and verifiable presidential and parliamentary elections.

Disinterest in this activity, which is necessarily non-binding, is also high. León affirms that the intention of the population in the Popular Consultation does not go much beyond 30% either. "An important part of the country does not know about the initiative and the opposition does not have access to the mass media," he says. "The vast majority of Venezuelans want political change, but although Guaidó is much more accepted and popular than Maduro, the most common thing in our measurements is that those consulted affirm that they do not identify with either the government or the opposition."

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