Starting today, I’ll take a look to what I consider the most important governorship races of the December 16th regional elections. I won’t do all the 23 Venezuelan States – sorry Delta Amacuro, you’re too deep in the red for me to care. Instead, I will focus on those considered to be the highlights and on others which have interesting elements for both Chavismo and the opposition.
The MUD candidate could benefit from this but he also has serious issues of his own that make this race a complete toss-up in my view.
All indicated the PSUV would choose Interior Minister Tarek El Aissami. Instead, he was sent to Táchira to test the waters, withdrawn shortly, and now runs as Chavismo’s candidate in Aragua.
The PSUV decided in the end to go with National Assembly deputy Alexis Ramírez. He’s a political ally of El Aissami and has the backing of the PSUV leadership, which went to Mérida en masse to support him. The comandante presidente himself endorsed Ramírez (via phone call, obviously).
Food for thought: the PSUV press conference was held in the Governorship …and Díaz Orellana wasn’t there at all.
The split inside Chavismo could mean an automatic pick-up for the MUD, but that is not certain because of its candidate: the current mayor of the State’s capital Léster Rodríguez.
In the end, the outcome of this race will hang on Porras’ amount of support. If he has enough, he can pull an upset win that will shake things inside Chavismo. If he has major support but not enough to put him on top, the split will give Mérida to the opposition.
However the PSUV and the Chavernment apparently will put its machinery behind Alexis Ramírez, with a more powerful Ramírez at the helm: Oil Minister/PDVSA President Rafael Ramírez will run the campaign.
This one could be a real nailbiter seven weeks from now.