Federico Sucre and Hector Briceño have an interesting post over at the Interamerican Dialogue’s webpage. They claim the opposition’s win in last December’s parliamentary election was due to chavista abstention, chavista null votes, and the opposition making greater inroads into rural areas.
Between 2006 and 2010, the opposition increased its electoral growth rates in the country’s smaller cities and large towns, but failed to penetrate the rural areas. In the five years leading up to the 2015 parliamentary elections, the opposition experienced inverse growth relative to the initial 1998-2006 period, finally reaching the country’s most rural areas. The rural support translated into the opposition’s greatest increase in votes, greater than in any other areas or previous periods, marking the breakdown of chavismo’s traditional strongholds.
Despite the gains, the opposition still has one tremendous problem in rural areas: they don’t really have any media. Newspapers are gone, radio stations belong to Diosdado, and there are no private employers really. Everything is in the hands of the government.
So while overall the opposition has made huge gains in rural areas, there is still a lot of work to do.
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