Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

MEDIAWATCH

Apparent beheading of Steven Sotloff sees more calls for #IsisMediaBlackout

Read more

AFRICA NEWS

Lesotho Coup: Exiled Prime Minister vows to return home after fleeing

Read more

DEBATE

Child Migrants In America: What to do about the wave of unaccompanied minors? (Part Two)

Read more

DEBATE

Child Migrants In America: What to do about the wave of unaccompanied minors?

Read more

THE INTERVIEW

Abbas Araghchi, Iranian deputy foreign minister

Read more

THE OBSERVERS

More of this year's best Observers stories

Read more

FOCUS

When water becomes a weapon of war

Read more

ENCORE!

Eve Ensler: 'In The Body Of The World'

Read more

THE INTERVIEW

Ed Husain, Author of 'The Islamist'

Read more

  • IS video purports to show beheading of second US journalist

    Read more

  • Could France sell the Mona Lisa to pay off its debts?

    Read more

  • Video: Bodies ‘left behind’ as Ukraine forces flee rebel assault

    Read more

  • Trust and 'bio-disaster units' needed to fight Ebola

    Read more

  • France vows crackdown on unemployment benefit ‘abusers’

    Read more

  • Julie Gayet wins privacy case against French glossy Closer

    Read more

  • Germany blocks popular car pick-up service Uber

    Read more

  • Several UN peacekeepers killed in Mali explosion

    Read more

  • NATO plans new 'spearhead' force to counter Russia

    Read more

  • French clubs left behind as others spend big

    Read more

  • Britain drops arrest warrant for ill boy’s parents

    Read more

  • When water becomes a weapon of war

    Read more

  • Arab media strike back at IS Islamists – with cartoons

    Read more

  • US military targets Somalia's al Shabaab Islamist group

    Read more

  • Eve Ensler: 'In The Body Of The World'

    Read more

  • Boko Haram Islamists seize northeast Nigerian town

    Read more

  • Is Carla Bruni against a political comeback for Sarkozy?

    Read more

  • Monaco’s Falcao leaves Ligue 1 for Man Utd

    Read more

Americas

Venezuela's opposition falls short in lunge for new seats

© Photo: AFP

Text by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2013-12-09

Opponents of President Nicolas Maduro held key cities in Venezuela’s mayoral elections on Sunday but failed to deliver the crushing victory they had sought to try to undermine the hand-picked successor of the late Hugo Chavez.

Venezuela’s opposition retained its grip on the country’s two largest cities in municipal elections on Sunday, but President Nicolas Maduro’s socialist government maintained the upper hand across the country despite deepening economic woes and growing discontent.

With results in from 75% of the nation’s 337 mayoral races, the ruling party and allies had claimed a combined 49.2 percent of votes, compared with the opposition coalition and its partners’ 42.7 support, according to election authorities.

Opposition leader Henrique Capriles had called on the local ballots to be a referendum on the goverment's overall record and some of his allies had predicted a symbolic defeat of “Chavismo” under Maduro, who came to power in April.

“I did everything humanly possible,” a visibly tired Capriles told reporters after the results were unveiled. “Remember that Venezuela does not have a single owner. A divided country needs dialogue.”

The Washington Office for Latin America (WOLA), a think tank, said the elections gave Maduro some much-needed impetus.

“Compared to where [Maduro] was two months ago, with a government in a tail spin, he now looks like he is in control, having gotten past a major hurdle. The opposition clearly did not get the big plebiscite win that it sought,” the group said on its website.

‘Sale’ on plasma TVs

In a triumphant speech late Sunday, Maduro dedicated his victory to the late President Hugo Chavez and promised more measures to protect the poor, including a drive to keep food prices low.

Maduro, 51, has faced compounding economic problems, including slowing growth, record-high inflation and shortages of food staples and basic goods.

But an aggressive campaign launched last month to force businesses to slash prices proved popular with consumers, especially the poor, and is credited with having helped Maduro’s candidates on Sunday.

Among the most popular measures was the seizure of dozens of retailers and the slashing of prices on plasma TVs, refrigerators and other appliances.

“Maduro has gained some breathing room but 2014 is guaranteed to be a difficult year,” WOLA warned. “There are still very fundamental economic problems. The measures that Maduro rode to this electoral victory are short term and will likely worsen the economy in the medium term.”

(FRANCE 24 with Reuters, AP)

Date created : 2013-12-09

  • VENEZUELA

    US expels Venezuela diplomats in tit-for-tat row

    Read more

  • VENEZUELA

    'Yankees go home,' Venezuela tells US diplomats

    Read more

  • VENEZUELA - FRANCE

    Venezuela arrests Air France manager in cocaine bust

    Read more

COMMENT(S)