Municipios to watch out for

Quico says: When it comes to local races, it’s even harder to know where to look. 335 mayors are going to be elected on November 23rd, way more than anyone sane could keep track of. So where should we be focusing on?

This little table shows the 27 key urban municipios in Venezuela, together with the results of the 2007 referendum in each of them. Together, they account for the country’s 16 biggest cities (since several metropolitan areas are spread between more than one municipio.) Because – annoyingly – Venezuelan municipalities often have official names that don’t match the usual names given to the places where they are, I’ve listed both side by side:

(Click to Enlarge)

Basically, the table includes all municipios with over 200,000 population in the 2001 census, alongside some high profile hotspots of opposition in Caracas (Chacao, El Hatillo) and in Valencia (San Diego and Naguanagua). If you spot a key municipio missing here, do let me know.

As of 2001, 46.8% of all Venezuelans were living in these 27 municipalities.

As we know, this urban electorate has been trending more and more against Chávez: the “Sí” got just 44% of the big city vote last December, compared to 49% nationally.

In the Valley of Caracas municipalities (Libertador + Chacao + Baruta + Sucre + El Hatillo) the Sí got a crushing 59.3% of the vote, a lead of 234,000 votes in an election that, nationwide, we won by just 125,000 votes.

Ciudad Guayana, Maturín, Punto Fijo, Barinas, Guarenas and La Guaira were the only big municipalities where the Sí won.

The appeal of big city municipios is pretty clear for the opposition. These are high profile offices where we stand a good chance of winning. Unfortunately, so far, the opposition has been able to agree on single candidacies for just 3 of these 27 municipios: Manuel Rosales in Maracaibo, Ocariz in Petare and Enzo Scarano in San Diego (Northeast of Valencia).

Update: Naguanagua municipality has now been included. Let me know if I’m missing another.