Nine months after his death, Venezuela’s ruling party is still running Hugo Chavez as its standard-bearer in upcoming municipal elections seen as an important test of strength for his lackluster successor Nicolas Maduro.
Venezuelans go back to the polls Sunday, for the first time since Maduro’s disputed election, to choose mayors and city council members in a country still unsettled by Chavez’s death March 5 of cancer.
“December 8 is the day of loyalty to Hugo Chavez, and we are going to go and vote,” roared Diosdado Cabello, leader of the governing United Socialist Party (PSUV), at a recent campaign rally.
Cabello then yielded the floor to a videotaped speech by the late president, a deeply polarizing populist who sought to carry out a socialist revolution during his 14-year rule over this oil-rich country.
“Chavez continues to be the calling card of the ruling party heading into December 8,” said political expert Nicmer Evans.