Venezuelan opposition candidate Sergio Garrido emerged the winner of an election in the state of Barinas, following a court-ordered rerun of the poll due to last year’s opposition win.
Garrido, running for the opposition MUD coalition, gained 55.4 per cent of the vote, according to data released by the CNE electoral authority on Monday.
Former Venezuelan foreign minister, Jorge Arreaza, who was running for the governing Socialists, won 41.3 per cent.
“Barinas, we did it,” Garrido said in a tweet, while Arreza conceded his defeat. “Although we gained in the number of votes, we did not reach our goal,” he said.
Arreaza stood after Venezuela’s Supreme Court ordered the rerun of the poll in the state, a Socialist stronghold and the birthplace of late former Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez.
Initial results after the November 21 regional elections showed a slim victory for Freddy Superlano of the opposition MUD coalition, beating Argenis Chavez, the brother of the late Venezuelan leader.
However, the country’s top court ordered new elections in the state, arguing that Superlano was not allowed to compete.
Venezuela’s elections are widely seen to be arranged to support the ruling party, leaving little option for opposition wins.
According to the European Union, the regional elections were conducted under better conditions than previous polls in the South American country. Nevertheless, the EU’s election observation mission found “structural deficiencies.”
The country is in a deep political and economic crisis. Opposition leader Juan Guaido declared himself interim president in early 2019 and has since tried to force President Nicholas Maduro, who is supported by the powerful military, out of office.
Maduro’s authoritarian government and the opposition have made some progress in talks in Mexico, but these have since been interrupted.
Government opponents who had boycotted all elections since 2017 agreed to participate in the regional elections following the hiatus in the talks.