BY ANDREW ROSATI
Voters handed President Nicolás Maduro a tepid vote of support, as preliminary results showed his political allies winning a majority of mayoral seats nationwide.
Since taking the helm after the March death of Hugo Chávez, President Maduro’s tenure has been marred by claims of fraud, an ailing economy, an inflation rate of over 54 percent, and chronic shortages of consumer goods. His opponents cast Sunday’s municipal elections as a plebiscite on his presidency and attempts to preserve his predecessor’s socialist policies.
Partial results showed that the Maduro administration was set to win the majority of mayoral spots, passing the electoral “test” by much more than the razor-thin margin with which Maduro beat opposition foe Henrique Capriles in April. Voters gave the ruling United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV) and its allies more that 49 percent of the popular vote, compared to 42 percent for the opposition.