María Corina Machado leads opposition poll for 2024 Venezuelan presidential race.
She secured 93% of votes, despite a current ban from public office.
Winner to face likely candidate, President Nicolás Maduro.
In the early tally of votes from a recent opposition party poll in Venezuela, aimed at selecting a unified candidate for the 2024 presidential race, María Corina Machado has taken a commanding lead.
With just over 25% of the votes counted, Ms. Machado secured an impressive 93% of the support, despite her current disqualification from holding public office.
The other nine candidates are trailing far behind the 56-year-old Machado.
The ultimate victor in this race will square off against the government’s chosen candidate. Historically, Venezuela’s opposition has been deeply divided, but they organized this primary to consolidate support behind a single contender for the presidency, allowing ordinary citizens to participate in the voting process.
While the ruling PSUV party has yet to reveal its candidate, many expect President Nicolás Maduro, who has held power since 2013, to be their nominee.
Unlike the previous presidential election, where most opposition parties boycotted due to candidate disqualifications and arrests, they have decided to participate in the 2024 poll, despite the challenges they anticipate.
It remains uncertain whether the ban on María Corina Machado will be lifted prior to the election. This ban was imposed in June by the comptroller general, Elvis Amoroso, a close ally of President Maduro, who accused Machado of corruption without providing evidence.
There has been significant international pressure, particularly from the United States, to overturn this ban.
Last week, the United States eased some of the sanctions on Venezuela’s oil and gas sector following an agreement between the Venezuelan government and opposition to have the 2024 election supervised by international observers.
The deal stipulates that all candidates who meet constitutional requirements will be permitted to register.
However, government negotiator Jorge Rodríguez stated that this would not apply to candidates previously barred by the comptroller general.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken cautioned that sanctions could be reimpose if opposition candidate bans are not lifted by the end of November.
María Corina Machado’s position has been bolstered by the significant voter turnout in the primary, which the opposition organized without involvement from the National Electoral Council.
There were long lines at polling centers across Venezuela and in major cities abroad, with many voters expressing a sense of hope and celebration as they cast their ballots.
Although the vote count was briefly delayed due to an internet server issue, the initial results provided María Corina Machado with a substantial advantage, leading her to declare victory.
“From tonight we begin a great movement for a great national alliance for the transformation of Venezuela,” she said.
“Today I received a mandate and I accept with Venezuelans the commitment of making that mandate matter,” she added.
Argentina presidential election: Javier Milei vs. Sergio Massa
Sergio Massa secured 36%+ of the vote in Argentina's recent presidential election....