Venezuelans hold last campaign rallies ahead of elections
Supporters of various political factions in Venezuela have held final rallies as campaigning ended in the South American country’s upcoming parliamentary elections.
Thousands of supporters of Venezuela’s ruling socialist party converged in central Caracas to celebrate the end of campaigning for parliamentary elections. Activists from indigenous groups and various walks of life came out with flags and banners to attend the mass rally.
Supporters of the Movement of Democratic Unity (MUD), which includes a coalition of opposition parties, held a separate last campaign rally also in the capital.
Venezuelans will go to the polls on December 6 to elect deputies to the National Assembly. From Thursday midnight, no campaign is permitted in Venezuela until voting begins on Sunday.
Candidates will contend for the country’s 167-seat National Assembly. The ruling United Socialist Party of Venezuela, known by its Spanish acronym PSUV, currently holds 99 of the 167 seats.
The opposition hopes to win a majority in the parliament for the first time since 1999. Some opinion polls have suggested that more than 55 percent of Venezuelans back the opposition.
Anti-government politicians have said they are frustrated with the ruling party’s policies. The opposition claims that its supporters and activists have been intimidated during campaign events in recent weeks. Officials deny any involvement, saying their foes are behind attempts to intimidate the opposition in a bid to discredit the government.
President Nicolas Maduro has urged Venezuelans to support his ruling party, saying votes for the opposition would reinstate US influence in their country and end the popular state-subsidized welfare program.