Caracas, Venezuela – The presidential campaign is officially over as of Thursday night at 11:59p.m., as dictated by the law here in Venezuela. After the chaos and euphoria that spread through Caracas in the days leading up to the close of the campaigns, a tense and eerie calm reigns over the city.
Across the country, 13,683 polling centers are now ready to receive the millions of eager voters that will stand in line from 6:00a.m. onward tomorrow to cast their ballots. Local authorities have asked voters to refrain from wearing political paraphernalia during the voting process, both to ensure their compliance with electoral law and to mitigate tensions that may arise at the centers.
Despite a few minor setbacks, the preparation for tomorrow’s election unwound with calm and order. The only major incident occurred in the central state of Carabobo, where the authorities had to replace 47 voting machines that malfunctioned due to power shortages in the region.
Rain or shine, voter turnout tomorrow is expected to be among the highest in Venezuelan history. Venezuelan expatriates have traveled from around the world to make their voices heard; some of them are still stranded at airports abroad.
A sense of anticipation is palpable in Caracas. Supermarkets and gas stations have been cluttered throughout the day, as people prepare for what will most likely be a highly contested election and an uncertain aftermath.
Juan Víctor Fajardo is a guest blogger for AQ Online and Venezuelan freelance journalist and photographer based out of Caracas. He is currently working as a consultant on Mercosur. His Twitter account is @juanvictorfg.