Archive for August 4th, 2003

Student elections at the Universidad de Los Andes

August 4, 2003


It is interesting to look at the recent elections (search for Federacion de Centros and you get all of the news) at the Universidad de Los Andes because in some sense they are a reflection of the mood in the country, down to the details of denial and lack of information on all sides. The so-called Federacion de Centros is the organization that is equivalent to Student Council at any US University. In Venezuela political parties field candidates in these elections. There were three candidates, two for the opposition and on for Chavez’ MVR. In the end one of the opposition candidates Nixon Moreno, came in first place with 37.5-39% of the votes, followed by another opposition candidate Covelsi Sanchez who received 29-32% of the votes and in last place Tareck El Aisami, Chavez’ MVR’s candidate with roughly 27-28% of the vote. Mr. El Aisami was seeking reelection for a position he won running away during Mr. Chavez first year in power. Thus, the Chavistas were trounced 66%-71% to 27-28% in a segment of population where in any other country the “left” should win running away. There are a number of interesting facts about this election:


-Since the first day, there have been no more reports by either side on the percentage of the votes. Typical of Venezuela, since we know who won, who cares about the numbers, why publish them, count the votes or report them (I care! They are meaningful!)

-The loser Mr. El Aisami, refuses to accept that he lost.

– The Chavista Governor of Merida State Florencio Porras, while admitting Mr. El Aisami’s defeat, refuses to recognize him as the Chavista candidate, saying instead that he was “ the candidate of an alliance which included the youth of Chavez’ MVR”. Oh, I see! He was chosen by the youth of MVR but can not be interpreted as a loss for MVR. Weird logic, no? He even said: “I do not see much of an impact from this loss”…..Yeah, yeah, yeah

– Moreno was backed by MAS (Movimiento al Socialismo) and a small group from Accion Democratica. Coselvi was back by extreme-left party Bandera Roja, the Social Christians of COPEI, Primero Justicia, Accion Democratica and Patria Para Todos, which supports Chavez at the national level.

-Even more interesting, the Chavistas have suffered similar losses in the Universidad del Zulia and Universidad del Tachira. Despite their relevance and significance to national politics, little is known about these results nationally.

-What I find fascinating about these results is the quantitative similarity between them and those of national polls that attempt to probe the popularity of Hugo Chavez.


Chavez does not like polls, these are real votes!!

A positive step towards saving this democracy

August 4, 2003

The Constitutional Hall of the Venezuelan Supreme Court just ruled the omission by the National Assembly in choosing the Electoral Board and gave the Assembly ten days to act on it or it will be forced to choose it. The Hall said that if the Assembly does not fullfill its role, then it will name an Electoral Comission (CNE) within the next ten days. The Court argued that it is the guarantor of the Constitution and since the Assembly has not reached the required two thirds consensus it had to step in. The ruling says that the new CNE would be only temporary, but its decisions would be binding and that those chosen by the Court may or not come from the 86 names proposed to the National Assembly. If the Assembly does not name the CNE, there should be a working one by Aug. 24th. which will guarantee that, if all is in order, the recall referendum may take place before the end of the year. A very positive and necessary (not sufficient!!) step to preserve democracy in Venezuela!