Nobody in Venezuela seriously doubts who will win the presidential election the country holds next weekend; certainly not President Nicolás Maduro. “The revolution is going to record the biggest victory in its entire electoral history,” Mr Maduro boasted last week on a presidential flight back to Caracas from a campaign rally.
“Long live beautiful Venezuela!” Dimitris Pantoulas, a political analyst based in Caracas, believes the president’s confidence is well-founded. “Maduro will win. Of that I have zero doubt,” he said. “What’s more, I don’t think he’ll even need to resort to outright fraud on election day to do it. The electoral process is skewed so much in his favour that he will get the votes he needs.” The bigger question is what Mr Maduro will do after next Sunday’s vote given the magnitude of Venezuela’s economic collapse, mounting international opposition to his rule, social discontent at home and increasing restiveness within the armed forces.
I wouldn’t be surprised if there is a coup within Chavismo . . . He [Maduro] can’t keep running the country like this,” Mr Pantoulas said. referring to the ruling movement formed by the late President Hugo Chávez, Mr Maduro’s patron and predecessor. “Venezuela at the moment is ungovernable.” Internationally, there is the risk of more international sanctions, including a possible ban by Washington on US purchases of about 500,000 barrels per day of Venezuelan crude exports. Private claims against the government are also starting to snowball.