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Maduro's popularity increases, opposition expected to make gains in regional elections — Venezuela

15 Octubre 2017, 09:57 | Bibiana Flor

300000 Venezuelans flee food shortage, Colombian official says

Russian President Vladimir Putin greets Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro at the Kremlin on 4 October 2017

Maduro visited Russia last week to reaffirm the alliance with the South American nation which is in crisis after the collapse in oil prices and increasingly reliant on Kremlin aid.

Carlos Ocariz, mayor of a Caracas municipality and an opposition coalition member, ventured into the Petare slum with a phalanx of drummers, yellow-shirted followers tossing sprays of fliers and an assistant who sported a haircut identical to that of his boss.

Socialist party candidates, meanwhile, waged competitive campaigns and urged Venezuelans to ensure Chavez's legacy and social programs are kept alive. "I love my country, and I don't want it to continue in ruins".

President Nicolás Maduro threatens the opposition. Many opposition supporters are disappointed, having previously believed that their protests would had led to some type of change.

"A governor who is not sworn in by the Constituent Assembly will not take office", he said, adding that "anyone who goes to vote on Sunday will be supporting the Constituent Assembly, who convoked the vote".

Sunday's election would seem the perfect forum for Venezuelans to show their displeasure with the socialist government.

The National Assembly, by contrast, is considered Venezuela's legitimate government authority: in December 2015 elections, the opposition took two-thirds of the seats, giving them the super majority needed to rewrite the constitution and call a referendum on the presidency.

"We note with great concern that the regime will not permit the presence of independent international electoral observers", the State Department said in a statement.

 A protester holds a mock 100-Bolivare banknote with word 'Hungry' written on it at an anti-government protest.

"The (Colombian) government is managing it as well as it can, but it's a challenge. But every time they have a new trick under the sleeve".

The tricks to which Salamanca and Monaldi referred are moves Maduro has taken to confuse the 18 million Venezuelans eligible to cast ballots. The SP 500 also registered its fifth weekly gain in a row at 0.2%, ending Friday 0.1% higher at 2,553.

That includes the decision to move 205 polling stations from neighborhoods where the opposition has up to 70 percent support to mostly poor, faraway barrios.

- ARAGUA: The government here is in the hands of the ruling party, originally in control of who is now vice president, Tareck El Aissami.

Even if opposition politicians win 20 states, there are no guarantees they would be able to effectively wield power.

Capriles believes this is part of a government strategy to discourage people in a state that has traditionally voted for the opposition from heading to the polls.

The vote comes against the backdrop of an International Monetary Fund report in which it sees no end to the economic downturn and suffering of the population.

The government is aware that the world will be watching.

The approval ratings of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro rose to 23.2% at the end of September, according to a new poll conducted by private centre-right think tank Datanalisis.

The Colombian finance minister says the political and economic crisis in Venezuela has become a humanitarian one. "There's no point in ruining ties with Russia", he said.

"Though the government will probably find a way to diminish the importance of the results, it will initially recognize the outcome as it seeks to revive stalled talks with the opposition and stave off additional sanctions", the Eurasia analysis said.

Voters will elect governors in all 23 states and the opposition Democratic Union Roundtable coalition is calling for a large turnout that some experts say could propel them to victory in most regions. Venezuela is Cuba's top political and economic ally.

Maduro did not immediately remark on the claim, but Tarek William Saab, who replaced Ortega after her dismissal, said there is an order for Azevedo's arrest.



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