According to the most recent preliminary results for Sunday’s regional elections, mayoral candidates allied with Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez lead in 270 of 335 municipalities. This represents over 80% of the country’s cities and towns, more than doubling their showing in the 2000 elections, when Chavista candidates won only 115 posts (fig.1 & 2).

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Fig.1: Until last Sunday, Venezuela’s Opposition held a majority of municipal posts.
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Fig.2: Candidates allied with President Chávez now dominate the country at the Municipal level.

Municipal victories for pro-Chávez candidates have been complimented by a similarly strong showing at the state-level. Venezuela’s National Electoral Council (CNE) has released preliminary results showing Chavista victories in 18 of 20 states where trends are assumed to be irreversible. Results for the remaining two states have also been released, but the CNE has repeatedly stressed that the races are still too close to call. In Carabobo and Yaracuy (see map) pro-Chávez candidates are holding on to slim leads as technicians continue the drawn-out counting process (fig.3).

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Fig.3: Chavistas lead in Carabobo and Yaracuy by 1-2%.

Representatives from the CNE are currently in these contested states to personally monitor the count. Yesterday, Minister of Justice and the Interior Jesse Chacon announced that the National Guard units charged with keeping the peace during the election-known as "Plan Republic"-will remain in Carabobo, Miranda, Yaracuy, and Anzoategui until all votes have been counted. In these states opposition protestors have taken to the streets to express their discontent over the preliminary results. Final results are expected on Friday.

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