01:13 GMT +318 January 2020
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    This Sunday Venezuelans will vote in an early general election, which critics argue Is just another political weapon in the arsenal of incumbent President Nicolas Maduro’s, as he seeks to maintain his hold on power.

    Venezuela’s economic crisis has been compounded by unsuccessful domestic policies and foreign sanctions and the country needs change fast.
    Sputnik spoke with Dr Rebecca Jarman; Lecturer in Latin American Cultural Studies at the University Of Leeds for more.

    Sputnik: Is Maduro likely to win the election and is the election legitimate?

    Dr Rebecca Jarman: Maduro is likely to win the elections but there are likely to be high levels of abstention and only half the population will vote and they would mostly be Maduro supporters.

    Whether the elections are legitimate is a difficult question. The process of auditing will be less rigorous this time around and there are also criticisms of the use of identity cards and the government may be able to monitor who votes and who they vote for.

    Whether this is true is uncertain, but people have the impression that the state knows who they are voting for and could sway people into voting in a particular way.

    Sputnik: Could opposition such as Henri Falcon, pose a serious challenge to Maduro?

    Dr Rebecca Jarman: Initial reports suggest that he won’t pose a serious challenge. As the state could potentially know who people voted for and many people are reliant on food subsidies to get through the ongoing crisis. The threat of losing access to this aid will persuade people to vote for Maduro.

    Sputnik: What could be done to solve the economic crisis in Venezuela?

    Dr Rebecca Jarman: Dollarization has been suggested, although this could be a very tough method that would impact the lives of ordinary Venezuelans. There needs to be a series of interventions into how the oil economy is being run and a reconsideration of the controls placed on the local currency; the Bolivar would also be helpful.

    The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the speaker and do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.

    The views and opinions expressed in the article do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.


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