Venezuelans went to polling stations Sunday to elect municipal council members, but analysts predicted record low turnout, citing mistrust in the process, the banning of opposition parties and widespread exhaustion amid the ongoing socioeconomic crisis. The elections come one month before President Nicolas Maduro begins his second six-year term after winning an election in May termed illegitimate by political opponents, the European Union, the United States and most of Latin America. Voting was suspended in the southern city of Gran Sabana, where an indigenous man died Saturday in an apparent military operation against illegal mining, the National Electoral Council (NEC) reported.
But NEC president Tibisay Lucena said for the most part voting was taking place with “complete normality” in the rest of Venezuela. She provided no participation figures.
… Interior Minister Nestor Reverol said 150,000 police and military personnel had been deployed to provide security at the centers.
Maduro hopes to strengthen his institutional control as Brazilians choose 2,459 members for 335 city councils. The opposition now controls a quarter of those councils.