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Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro after winning his re-election on May 20, 2018. Photo: Juan Barreto/AFP via Getty Images

President Nicolás Maduro was declared the winner of Venezuela’s presidential election on Sunday with 68% of the vote. Although the main opposition parties boycotted the election, the two opposition candidates who participated came in at 21% and 11%. Maduro will serve another 6-year term after an election characterized by low turnout — 46% compared to 80% in the previous race — and widespread allegations of fraud.

Why it matters: Although Sunday’s outcome is a far cry from the landslide victories of Maduro’s predecessor, Hugo Chávez, the country’s economic mismanagement and steady march toward authoritarianism are bound to continue.

What's in store for the country after Maduro’s re-election:

  1. With generalized irregularities before and on election day, Venezuela will remain a competitive authoritarian regime — one where elections are held but the results are predetermined.
  2. The economic emergency will likely grow more dire, fueling a vicious cycle. The government corruption and mismanagement that contributed to hyperinflation, soaring violent crime, widespread poverty and the unprecedented exodus of Venezuelans will get worse as conditions deteriorate.
  3. Although the recent increase in oil prices has eased some of the financial strain on government coffers, the disarray of Venezuela’s oil industry will prevent higher prices from translating into a palpable improvement in living conditions. With a
    37% production decline since 2015, the government’s inability to preserve its main source of hard currency suggests a slow but steady collapse of the state.

The big picture: As in 2005, boycotting elections has accomplished little for the opposition. To challenge Maduro in the future, the opposition will have to rally behind a common candidate, as in 2013, when Henrique Capriles lost to Maduro by only 1.5% of the vote.

Gustavo Flores-Macías is an associate professor of government at Cornell University.

Go deeper

Congress plots COVID pandemic-era office upgrades

oving crates outside Rep. Elise Stefanik's old office Tuesday. Photo: Bill Clark/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images

The House plans to renovate members' suites even though staff are worried about an influx of contractors and D.C. is tightening restrictions on large gatherings, some staffers told Axios.

Why it matters: The Capitol has been closed to public tours since March. Work over the holiday season comes as U.S. coronavirus cases spike, Americans beg for more pandemic assistance and food lines grow.

Trump pressures Barr to release so-called Durham report

Bill Barr. Photo: Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post via Getty Images

President Trump and his allies are piling extreme pressure on Attorney General Bill Barr to release a report that Trump believes could hurt perceived Obama-era enemies — and view Barr's designation of John Durham as special counsel as a stall tactic, sources familiar with the conversations tell Axios.

Why it matters: Speculation over Barr's fate grew on Tuesday, with just 49 days remaining in Trump's presidency, after Barr gave an interview to the Associated Press in which he said the Justice Department has not uncovered evidence of widespread fraud that could change the election's outcome.

CDC to cut guidance on quarantine period for coronavirus exposure

A health care worker oversees cars as people arrive to get tested for coronavirus at a testing site in Arlington, Virginia, on Tuesday. Photo: Olivier Douliery/AFP via Getty Images

The CDC will soon shorten its guidance for quarantine periods following exposure to COVID-19, AP reported Tuesday and Axios can confirm.

Why it matters: Quarantine helps prevent the spread of the coronavirus, which can occur before a person knows they're sick or if they're infected without feeling any symptoms. The current recommended period to stay home if exposed to the virus is 14 days. The CDC plans to amend this to 10 days or seven with a negative test, an official told Axios.

  • The CDC did not immediately respond to a request for comment.