Opposition In Venezuela Calls For Another Round Of Elections Gubernatorial elections in Venezuela delivered a majority of seats to the ruling socialists, rocking the opposition and reigniting protests. The opposition cited irregularities in their 17-6 seat loss. Shortages of food and medicine coupled with massive inflation have fueled widespread anger.
NPR logo

Opposition In Venezuela Calls For Another Round Of Elections

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/558160458/558160459" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript
Opposition In Venezuela Calls For Another Round Of Elections

Opposition In Venezuela Calls For Another Round Of Elections

Opposition In Venezuela Calls For Another Round Of Elections

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/558160458/558160459" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

Gubernatorial elections in Venezuela delivered a majority of seats to the ruling socialists, rocking the opposition and reigniting protests. The opposition cited irregularities in their 17-6 seat loss. Shortages of food and medicine coupled with massive inflation have fueled widespread anger.

KELLY MCEVERS, HOST:

Now to Venezuela where President Nicolas Maduro is very unpopular. And yet candidates loyal to him won in most of Sunday's gubernatorial elections. Now the opposition is crying foul and calling for another round of street protests. Reporter John Otis has more.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: (Speaking Spanish).

JOHN OTIS, BYLINE: The head of Venezuela's electoral council announced late Sunday that candidates for the ruling Socialist Party had won 17 of 23 state houses up for grabs. President Nicolas Maduro, who has led oil-rich Venezuela into its worst economic crisis in modern history, predicted that the outcome would bring tranquility after months of deadly anti-government protests.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

PRESIDENT NICOLAS MADURO: (Speaking Spanish).

OTIS: "Peace has triumphed," Maduro said at a victory rally. "The homeland has triumphed." But the results sharply contradicted polls predicting a major victory for the opposition. Instead, pro-government candidates won 54 percent of the votes cast.

DAVID SMILDE: Well, it certainly looks like a suspicious result.

OTIS: That's David Smilde, a Venezuela expert at Tulane University, speaking via Skype.

SMILDE: This is a government that for months has been polling between 20 and 25 percent. So it's hard to imagine how a government could end up getting 54 percent of the vote.

OTIS: The opposition decried what it called widespread irregularities in Sunday's vote. For example, at the last minute, the government relocated 200 polling stations, forcing hundreds of thousands of voters to take long taxi or bus rides in order to cast ballots. On Monday, opposition leaders said they would not recognize the results.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

CARLOS OCARIZ: (Speaking Spanish).

OTIS: One of them, Carlos Ocariz, said that exit polls showed him easily winning in the race for the governorship of Miranda state on the outskirts of Caracas. The official results show him losing. He and other opposition leaders are calling for more protests. But so far, there has been little reaction, not even at Altamira Plaza, a gathering point for anti-government protests. Sitting in the plaza is architect Jose Vidal. He marched against the government but also voted on Sunday. Given the results, he now questions whether the ruling Socialists will ever leave power.

JOSE VIDAL: (Speaking Spanish).

OTIS: Vidal says, "we now realize that we live in a dictatorship." For NPR News, I'm John Otis in Caracas.

(SOUNDBITE OF LITTLE PEOPLE'S "FAREWELL")

Copyright © 2017 NPR. All rights reserved. Visit our website terms of use and permissions pages at www.npr.org for further information.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by Verb8tm, Inc., an NPR contractor, and produced using a proprietary transcription process developed with NPR. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.