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CARACAS, Sunday December 16, 2012 | Update
 
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ELECTION 2012

Abstention: the hallmark of local election in Venezuela

Only in 2008 there was high turnout

The local election of October 31, 2004 was marked by low turnout (Photo: Jorge Santos)
EUGENIO G. MARTÍNEZ |  EL UNIVERSAL
Sunday December 16, 2012  08:54 AM

Keeping the share of power both for Chavezism and the dissent after the local election in Venezuela on Sunday will depend on the movement of voters.

How many people are entitled to vote? Except for the local election of October 31, 2008 –where mayors were also chosen- such kind of process does not usually prompt Venezuelans to cast their ballots.

The worst time concerning turnout was during the local election of 2004. By that time, the opposition rank and file was discouraged, partly because of the claims of fraud during the presidential recall referendum. In this way, abstention smashed a historical record of 54.72% of total voters. This means that 7,821,061 citizens would not vote then.

Notwithstanding, the abstention eight years ago cannot be viewed as a one-time event. In the election for state governors in 1989, 54% voters did not show up.

Neither the steps at decentralization nor two coup attempts embolden people to vote in the local election of 1992. A total of 50.72%, or 4,979,439 people enrolled in the register of voters refrained themselves from going to the ballots.

emartinez@eluniversal.com
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Is protest over?

That political protest in Venezuela has lost momentum seems pretty obvious: people are no longer building barricades to block off streets near Plaza Francia in Altamira (eastern Caracas), an anti-government stronghold; no new images have been shown of brave and dashing protesters with bandanna-covered faces clashing with the National Guard in San Cristóbal, in the western state of Táchira; and those who dreamed of a horde of "Gochos" (Tachirans) descending  in an avalanche to stir up revolt in Caracas have been left with no option but to wake up to reality.

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