CARACAS -- With campaigning for Venezuela’s December gubernatorial races now officially under way, the country's political opposition finds itself in a tough spot. Still licking its wounds from its loss in October’s presidential election, the Democratic Unity Coalition (MUD) must get quickly off the mat to prove its credibility not only to a weary electorate but also to its own fractious members.
In the wake of the presidential contest, the MUD leadership is doing everything it can to reassure the more than 6.5 million citizens who cast their ballots for opposition challenger Henrique Capriles Radonski of the coalition's prospects in the December elections. "This game is for the future [of the country], and we're just starting to play," said Capriles at a press conference days after his defeat.
Pollster Luis Vincente Leon, president of the survey firm Datanalisis, says that a key factor for the MUD will be whether its supporters are sufficiently mobilized to head back to the polls so soon after the October defeat. "It’s very important to understand that usually a much smaller number of voters participates in the regional elections as opposed to the presidential one," he says.