In an election tarnished by an opposition boycott and claims of vote-rigging, Venezuela’s incumbent President Nicolás Maduro has won re-election.
Despite the country’s deepening economic crisis, President Maduro’s victory was all but assured, thanks to an opposition boycott and the alleged use of substantial government resources in support of his campaign. It now remains to be seen what response emanates from the international community. The 14-nation Lima group of Latin American countries (plus Canada) has said they do not recognise the legitimacy of the result, which may prompt fresh western sanctions against the government. These are likely to be led by the US, following through with threats to impose sanctions on Venezuela's all-important oil sector.
The election has shone a fresh spotlight on a country in turmoil. The decline in Venezuela’s prosperity has continued unabated, with the country sinking 12 places to 132nd in last year’s Prosperity Index. 2017 was the fifth straight year of declining prosperity, and reflected a deteriorating picture across the board, with only three of Venezuela’s pillars being in the top 100 globally, and three (Business Environment, Governance, and Safety and Security) performing in the bottom five globally.