Voters will select mayors and members of municipal councils Sunday in the first election since Maduro won the presidency in April by a margin of only 1.5 percent -- succeeding Chavez, who died in March.
Eugenio Martinez, an analyst for El Universal, a newspaper that favors the opposition, expects the results in the 337 mayoral races to be inconclusive.
"Both sides may be able to declare victory on 9 December, depending on what you define as victory," Martinez told the BBC.
Polls suggest Maduro loyalists are likely to win a majority of municipalities but the opposition has a chance of winning the two largest cities, the capital, Caracas, and Maracaibo.
David Smilde, a senior fellow at the Washington Office on Latin America -- an organization that promotes democracy in South and Central America and the Caribbean -- said Maduro has made a comeback after trailing badly in the polls for months.
"Until the end of October, it looked like the opposition was in the driver's seat," Smilde said.
Maduro's popularity rose after he seized a chain of electronics stores and forced a reduction in prices. The Assembly passed a law allowing him to enact laws without legislative approval for a year.
The president has taken steps to increase his party's chances, including declaring Sunday a "Day of Loyalty and Love towards Chavez and the Motherland."
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