More than 19 million Venezuelan voters will cast their ballot in today's municipal election. A mundane ritual in most parts of the west, mayors elected to office in this South American country will be tasked with integrating popular democratic power in the hand-in-hand articulation and execution of public policies.
Faced with the demand by workers, students, local organizations and the voice of the streets in general, the mayor in the Bolivarian revolutionary government is heralded as a fundamental element in the construction of Popular Power emanating from society's rank-and-file. Hence, the mayor governs by listening to and orbiting within the people, according to university student Maria Mogollon.
That view is shared by Roger Martinez, an auto mechanic, who considers that a mayor “must attend and incorporate community and social organization proposals to develop their government plan,” according to La Radio del Sur.
Requirements outlined in Article 174 of the Constitution of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, specify that mayorships are allotted a four-year term. Their responsibilities include administering municipal resources, formulating local public policies and making decisions on behalf of social and economic development, in accordance with Article 88 of the Organic Laws of Municipal Public Power.
In this regard, one of the primary functions of all mayors, according to Jose Gonzalez, is to prioritize “peace among the people.”
Local merchant, Cristina Perez, added that this local authority should promote productive activity in order to stimulate employment as well as self-sustainability.
Polls are currently open for Venezuela's municipal elections to choose 335 mayors. Venezuelan National Electoral Council official Tania D'Amelio announced Saturday that 99.98 percent of polling stations have been successfully installed.
International observers have overseen the final installation of tables and electoral machines yesterday and will remain throughout the course of voting on Sunday. The mayoral race marks Venezuela's third election in less than six months and the 24th in the past 19 years of the revolution.