CARACAS — An opposition candidate won the mayorship yesterday of Maracaibo, Venezuela’s second-largest city, claiming the big prize in regional elections seen as a test of President Hugo Chavez’s popularity, according to initial results.
Venezuelans also elected governors in two rural states that have traditionally favored pro-Chavez candidates and mayors in 10 municipalities besides Maracaibo. Candidates from Chavez’s ruling party captured seven of the 11 mayorships and one state, according to results released by local election authorities.
The Maracaibo race that was the most closely watched.
Eveling Trejo, the wife of Maracaibo’s former mayor, Manuel Rosales, beat pro-Chavez candidate Gian Carlos Di Martino and other lesser-known contenders, elections officials said.
Rosales fled Venezuela last year after prosecutors brought corruption-related charges against him. Rosales, who denies any wrongdoing and claims the charges are politically motivated, was granted asylum in Peru. During the campaign, election officials barred Trejo from using posters bearing the image of her husband’s face.