Venezuela’s opposition is shifting its focus to forthcoming state elections as protests aimed at ousting President Nicolas Maduro have subsided following the installation of an all-powerful, pro-government legislative body. Four months of violent demonstrations in which at least 125 people were killed have all but stopped due to fatigue among protesters and disillusionment at seeing the ruling Socialist Party cement vast powers despite the concerted opposition push. Most opposition leaders say October’s elections for governors in all the country’s 23 states now represent the best means to keep pressuring Maduro, providing a chance to win some of the governorships at stake and an opportunity for a protest vote to demonstrate the president’s unpopularity.
The opposition, which boycotted the elections for the Constituent Assembly, accused electoral authorities of inflating turn-out figures for the July 30 vote.
There are few options available for adversaries of Maduro, who maintains control over the OPEC nation despite widespread public anger about triple-digit inflation and chronic shortages of basic goods.