Elections in Venezuela this Sunday as Dialogue Moves Ahead

Caracas, October 9, 2017 (venezuelanalysis.com) – Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro announced Sunday that his government is close to reaching a deal with the country’s right-wing opposition.

“We are 95 percent of the way there (in reaching) an accord with the political opposition. The document is being written and it’s 95 percent complete… Next week I hope to return to the dialogue table with the opposition, as we have agreed,” the head of state revealed during his weekly television program “Sundays with Maduro”.

Maduro did not offer further details, and the opposition has yet to issue a public response.

Internationally-mediated talks between the leftist government and the main opposition coalition, the Democratic Unity Roundtable (MUD), began September 13 in Santo Domingo.

The next meeting was scheduled for September 27, but the session was suspended when the MUD said it would not attend, accusing the government of failing to meet its demands, despite no agreement having yet been reached.

The previous round of Vatican-mediated talks broke down last December when the MUD walked out, similarly alleging lack of compliance by the government. The Maduro administration, for its part, accused the opposition of insisting on radical demands that were never agreed on as part of the preliminary framework.

President Maduro has over the past year made repeated overtures to the opposition to return to the negotiating table, all of which have been dismissed by the MUD as efforts to buy time.

The Venezuelan opposition has long been divided between moderate factions open to dialogue with the government and a more radical wing committed to toppling the government via street protests and foreign intervention.

Despite having backed four months of violent street protests demanding early presidential elections, all major opposition parties will field candidates in this Sunday’s gubernatorial races, where they will square off against the governing United Socialist Party of Venezuela.