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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

Trump can't quit mainstream media

Bob Woodward and Robert Costa are interviewed by Chuck Todd on "Meet the Press" in September. Photo: William B. Plowman/NBC via Getty Images

Bob Woodward and Robert Costa issued a rebuttal on Friday to a statement by former President Donald Trump that misrepresented their reporting — and once again showed the 45th president's thin skin about mainstream media.

Driving the news: "Former President Trump said ... our book, 'Peril,' implied that he was planning to go to war with China," the statement begins. "[W]e report that Chairman of Joint Chiefs Mark Milley 'believed that Trump did not want a war' before or after the 2020 election."

NY declares state of emergency amid concerns over Omicron COVID variant

Governor Kathy Hochul makes an announcement about a new plan transforming Penn Station on Nov. 3, 2021. Photo: Lev Radin/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images

New York Gov. Kathy Hochul on Friday declared a state of emergency amid rising COVID-19 cases and the newly-identified Omicron variant of the virus.

Driving the news: The declaration enables the state to acquire supplies to fight a potential surge in cases, increase hospital capacity and combat potential staff shortages, NBC's local affiliate reports.

4 hours ago - Health

First cases of COVID-19 Omicron variant discovered in U.K.

People wearing masks walk in London on Nov. 25. Photo: Li Ying/Xinhua via Getty Images

Two cases of the new COVID-19 Omicron variant were detected in the United Kingdom overnight, the U.K. Health Security Agency announced Saturday.

Why it matters: The discovery comes as the world scrambles to respond to concerns over the new variant, discovered in South Africa earlier this week.