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Venezuela president will depict the weekend’s regional ballot as victory for democracy

Gideon Long in Mérida, Venezuela

Opposition politician Carlos Ramos is not standing in this weekend’s regional elections in Venezuela; even so, his name and photograph are on the ballot and people will still be able to vote for him on Sunday.

This curious situation, repeated across the country, is just one way that the ruling Socialist party of President Nicolás Maduro is digging into its bag of electoral tricks to try to prevent the opposition from winning, critics say, while simultaneously claiming Venezuela is a healthy democracy.