Venezuelan opposition parties need to rebuild and rethink their strategy after a bitter defeat in the weekend elections, their leader Juan Guaidó said on Monday, calling for unity between the leaders of the divided party.
Venezuela's ruling party has won at least 18 states in 23 provinces, according to the revised election results published by the National Electoral Council (CNE in Spanish) on Monday.
Earlier, election officials announced that the ruling party had won the 20th general election. However, by-elections in the provinces of Barinas and Apure, which supported the Socialist party, led CNE to say that the results would be confirmed later.
Opposition politicians have won only three states.
Major opposition groups boycotted the 2018 presidential election and the 2020 congressional elections, saying a fair vote was not possible due to the disruption of the government of President Nicolás Maduro and the violent parties loyal to him.
But they are back at the ballot box this year amid frustration over the failure of American sanctions to oust Maduro despite long-standing social and economic difficulties.
Sunday's vote was seen as a test of strength ahead of the 2024 presidential election. Opposition groups called for a boycott of the by-elections in Europe.
The first report from the campaign is expected to be on Tuesday, but there have been no major disruptions.
However, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has accused the Maduro government of holding a flawed election that "pushed the process out" of predicting the outcome in favor of his party, citing the harassment and banning of election candidates, vote rigging, and polls.
Guaidó, a former congressional spokesman for Washington and its allies as Venezuela's rightful leader, said on Monday the opposition needed to "rebuild" after a disappointing outcome.
"Today a new phase opens," he said, without elaborating. "Today is a time for reflection within our leadership ... It is not a time for fighting or introducing ourselves to political leaders."
Analysts said ahead of the vote that the decision of the opposition parties was too late to participate and arguing that they should run in the election would hurt their show.
Opponents urgently need to rethink their strategy in order to reconnect with voters and burn their credibility, said Enderson Sequera, Venezuela's Politiks head of consultation.
"The conclusion (Sunday's vote) in Venezuela is very clear: Chavismo is firmly in power and the opposition democratically found itself to have gone too far in achieving political change," Sequera said, referring to the ruling party, which was once led by the deceased. President Hugo Chavez.