Venezuelan Parliamentary elections two weeks before the event

September 11, 2010

I haven’t said much about the upcoming elections, Daniel and Quico, know much more about the subject quantitatively than I do, so I have enjoyed reading their projections and insights. I am a little concerned that the people around me are somewhat over optimistic about the upcoming results, they read that Chavez’ popularity is below 40% and interpret it to mean the opposition has 60%. But nothing is further from the truth, the other 60% is composed of a block slightly below Chavez’ size and then there are the Ni-Nis, the undecided and the apathetic, all of which will be key in what happens.

I view this election as an incremental step, but somehow people view it as a deciding one. This election will be one more step towards a more balanced country and yes, a more democratic one, not only because the other side, known as the opposition, will occupy a larger and more space in the Assembly, but because as people are more and disappointed with the revolution, they are more willing to tolerate and listen to other points of view.

Case in point is the picture above, taken today, of opposition candidates openly campaigning in the 23 de Enero parish, something which would have been unthinkable three or four years ago. And they went there with concrete proposals for urban renewal, protected not by a bunch of thugs or bodyguards, but by the fact that their increasing support in what once was a Chavista stronghold, protects them from abuse as threatening or harassing them would only give them more votes.

Because of the gerrymandering and redistricting, this is a very difficult election to predict. Chavez is using all of his resources and those of the State without morals and this reflects in the polls, he has been going up in the last eight weeks, but the scandals, inflation and skepticism about the President  make it difficult for him to recover his lost popularity in the last two weeks.

I am in the 50/50 camp, the vote will split evenly which will favor Chavismo, but I know that the final number will be a matter of how motivated Chavismo is to go out and vote. I am assuming it is less motivated than in the February 2009 referendum, but not as lazy as in the 2007 one, thus my 50% split prediction. I do hope I am wrong.

But one has to view this election more in terms of goals. These are for em the major ones:

Base Scenario: Opposition obtains enough votes to stop Chavismo from having a two thirds majority.

This should be the most basic goal of the opposition, to obtain enough Deputies such that Chavez can no longer Legislate by whim as he has done in the last five years. Not getting to this level would represent a dramatic defeat for the opposition. Remarkably, this would occur if the opposition got below 47% of the vote, showing how rigged the system is, with 47% of the vote, you get less than 33% of the Deputies in the National Assembly. It looks like the opposition will achieve this.

Second Best Case: The opposition obtains 50% of the popular vote.

Even if obtaining 50%+ of the popular vote will only give the opposition around 43% of the 165 Deputies, it would send a strong warning to Chavismo and would show the world that Chavez’ famous legitimacy does not exist as even in the face of a popular defeat, he retains control of the National Assembly.

Third Best Case: The opposition obtains a majority of the Deputies.

This happens around 53-54% of the popular vote and would be quite a dramatic victory for the opposition. Chavismo, which has been accustomed to not talking to anyone, will have to sit down. This will shake the confidence of the most ardent Chavista and will allow the opposition to open investigations on all cases of interest. Obviously Chavez will ignore and bypass the National Assembly, but the visibility of the opposition will increase dramatically.

Can this happen? Certainly. Large Chavista abstention in key areas of the interior of the country could swing the majority to the opposition. The opposition is motivated, we just don’t know how motivated Chavismo is or isn’t or if it is distributed geographically to produce this result.

Dramatic Opposition Victory: Opposition wins 66% of the National Assembly allowing it to change “revolutionary” laws.

This scenario is possible, only because of the redistricting and gerrymandering that has taken place, the opposition could reach this with as little as 58% of the popular vote. This is unlikely to happen unless disappointment is such that Chavismo stays at home. I don’t see it being that large.

I personally believe today that we will get the second case, a 50/50 split and around 60-plus opposition Deputies out of 165. The precise details will depend on abstention, with abstention on the Chavista side being more critical than that of the opposition.

Will update right before the election my prediction and any changes.

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38 Responses to “Venezuelan Parliamentary elections two weeks before the event”

  1. Ana María Says:

    There is no democracy and the vote rigging is very frequent in this country! Young Venezuelans got tired of not being listened, so this time they will watch over the elections to avoid fraud and defend their vote. Will Chavez crash them?

    I recommend this article about that amazing iniciative: http://bit.ly/deON9f

  2. Johndoe Says:

    lahy = XD

  3. Johndoe Says:

    lahy : You seem to be the only BOLCHEVIK over here; btw there are other sites where you can show your “elocuent thoughts” and twisted views on democracy….. what a style!!!!!!…. (have you tried aporrea?)

    Too much of “La Hojilla” to enlighten us….!!! Iam sure wikipedia is about to call you in virtue of “Democracy” definition… 😀

  4. A_Antonio Says:

    I mean: “we are playing with the last chances to fix Venezuela”

  5. A_Antonio Says:

    I agree with firepigette, maybe some ones including me, are critics with opposition, and expecially we do not trust or like them a lot, because they have much to show or to learn.

    I have bad memories from the absence of power of Chavez in 2002. But I agree with that we are paying with the last changes to fix the Venezuelan problems in years and not in decades or centuries if Chavez remains in power after 2012.

    Our only chance is to bet for a change, whatever opposition become later.

    We should prefer apprentices in democracy that absolute experts on ruining the Venezuela.

  6. Kepler Says:

    Jsb, you can be direct, do you know that? 🙂

  7. Roberto N Says:

    Robert:

    I agree with your comment, and add that MO is right too. THis will be better for the True Democrats . It will affect his image.

    He will go down that road, and he will convince many ni-ni’s just how wrong he is.

    Thing of it is, it’s one more km. on a 1000 kms. of bad road, just pray the shock absorbers last long enough.

  8. jsb Says:

    “Dou (sic) you think that all of us are fools”?

    Yes.

  9. Kepler Says:

    Gordo, I am no military and they give me the rash. Still: Hugo IS a military man. He is a soldado. That’s what he is.

    Es un guapetón de Llano con un montón de resentimiento y con cierta labia, uno que sabe contar cuentos en un país donde el contar cuentos es clave.

  10. gordo Says:

    Nobody is all bad or all good.

    As far as calling Chavez a “military man,” what I’ve been reading about military tactics, you don’t try to destroy your enemy! You try to win their harts and minds. However, Chavez seems to be so paranoid, he acts like he’s besieged by assassins.

    One of the biggest problems I think Chavez and his whole movement have is that they don’t understand business, and they don’t appreciate the role of entrapeneurship, management, and the difficulty to produce products that are profitable and people want to buy.

    They also don’t understand money management.

    The opposition have all those skills.

    Wouldn’t it be nice if somehow Chavismo and Oppo’s could work together. Chavez has a following, and the oppo’s have the tools. Could of been a good combination! Oh well.

  11. moctavio Says:

    I have a post on that which will appear some time tonight (when I finish it!!), basically PSUV decided to bypass the law and reach a “political agreement”

  12. Roy Says:

    Miguel,

    Regarding the successor to William Lara as Governor, I couldn’t find any news article about this. But, is that to say that there is no deputy governor, or vice governor? Isn’t there a state charter or constitution which determines succession? If so, what is the correct line of succession?

  13. firepigette Says:

    ” The demonization of the opposition has been very succesful. ”

    This is an amazingly irritating problem.First of all Chavez cherry picks the popular oppos candidates and nulls them out and these same people seem to forget that Chavez is an authoritarian and as such has far more power to mess up the opposition than it would otherwise in a democracy.

    Secondly it does NO good whatsoever for Unity to always be harping on how bad everybody in the opposition is.
    Some people even go to the extreme of claiming to be antiChavez, but then claim that the opposition is even worse.They should be calling themselves instead:anti opposition.

    I say to those who make these kinds of damaging statements that if the oppos are worse, they might consider supporting’ mi comandante”

    But immediately upon listening to their words one gets the sense of an ego as big as the back side of a barn and they are quite proud they they are ‘encima’ all the rest of the world and will not stoop to support anything less.Some even seem to make a profession out of boasting a hatred for everything.

    Others are just simply unaware that we are living a last chance scenario.

    Too much Chiguire Bipolar?

  14. moctavio Says:

    I might talk about Lara’s death, not because of him, but because once again the Government acts arbitrarily on who succeeds him.

  15. Simon Antonio's Ghost Says:

    Are you going to talk about all the recent Chavista deaths here? Word on the street is that Simon Bolivar’s ghost has decided to liberate Venezuela once more and is taking chavistas, one by one, back to the toilet where they escaped.

  16. moctavio Says:

    BTW the numbers above are from memory, the data is no longer on the CNE website for 2007 and 2009. Weird.

  17. moctavio Says:

    Jacques, you are absolutely correct, that is the problem of the opposition. Between the 2006 Presidential election an the 2007 referendum, all the opposition did was to gain 200,000 votes, it was over 2 million Chavistas that did not go and vote that made the difference then. In fact, in the 2009 referendum, the opposition gained more, it went from 4.7 to 5.1 million, but Chavistas did go out and vote. That is why I emphasize that it is Chavista abstention that defines what happens. The demonization of the opposition has been very succesful. I don’t like much of the opposition, but there are some good people in it, in particular, there are many of them which spend all their time working for the people, much more than Chavistas that seem to spend all their time on politics.


  18. Yes Carlos, thanks, I know it is it was a pezuñazo, corrected, it is 162+3 indigenas.

  19. CarlosC Says:

    Miguel, it is 165 not 175

  20. Jacques Says:

    Hello, I’m a regular at your site, and I really enjoy your opinions and commentaries.
    I do agree in most of them but, there is something that it has been left behind by many commentators and analysts, about our upcoming elections, I’ve been an expat in this country for 27+ years, and also being in different regions had taught me many things ab out Venezuelans, I Shyly can add one little personal point of view:
    I’ll use a metaphor for this, HRCF has divided the country using the foundation of hate (Goebbels in Nazi Germany) using his propaganda, and again splitting the country in two main groups, one of these groups regardless of their approval or disapproval of the regime ,are disappointed with the red party, but they still hate the opposition (many years of propaganda) it wouldn’t be like asking Jews to vote for some renewed Nazi Party.
    Lets think about it…

  21. Pepe Says:

    I don’t think this guy is a Turk. Anyone can point to a website in Turkish (or any other language). He knows too much about Chavez and Co. His bad English is just a cover, not too difficult to achieve in his case.

  22. jeffry house Says:

    I think the analysis in the post is excellent. I would only add that the 50% goal can be boosted even if one votes in a totally anti-Chavez area where the PSUV is bound to win.

    Seen from abroad, less than 50% of the votes for Chavez will undermine much of the narrative the regime relies upon. It will certainly undermine his recent promise that the revolution will be “radicalized” after the elections.

  23. A_Antonio Says:

    I think MO post, is a realistic and good analytical approach to the elections.

    It will very dangerous that apposition predicts and promise easy victory in parliamentary elections. Because followers are easy to loose if they feel frustrated, I felt frustrated lot of times, and they will loose the basement of the important presidential election on 2012. Followers are not easy to recuperated in one year or two.

    Is more realistic if opposition tries to win space in parliament, political arena and in global media, and establish the ground to present the next president.

  24. moctavio Says:

    Robert: The less legitimate Chavez is, the better for the true Democrats of Venezuela.

  25. moctavio Says:

    Lahy:

    Do you think democracy is when one side that gets 48% of the vote gets only 32% of the vote?

    Do you think democracy is when the ruling party uses all of the resources of the State to run a campaign?

    Do you think democracy is when the ruling President tells people he is armed?

    What good is a Constitution if a Government does not respect it and enforce it?

    Do you think democracy is when the President and the party in power could care less about human rights?

    You obviously don’t read much or read selectively, how come you did not comment on the post on Human Rights before?

    As to your “You think”

    There is no basis to think that things will be better in 10-20 years, in the last 11 years, despite the biggest oil bonanza in the country’s history, the standard of living of Venezuelans at the bottom has not changed, industry hs been destroyed, including the oil industry and the country’s debt has increased by a factor of five. Thus your you think is you wish.

    As to books being written or movies being made, if they are as bad as Oliver Stone’s who cares.

    As I said, move to Venezuela today, remember crime has tripled and inflation is 30% a year. Live the revolution, dont imagine it from afar.

    And learn to read.

  26. Kepler Says:

    I agree and we should already be preparing a plan B and a plan c of what to do with the emasculation of the Asamblea Nacional.

    Sid,

    Yes, I don’t expect an average European/US American/Japanese/Turk to know about Gómez…unless he starts to tell us about Venezuelan history as this guy was doing.

    Just a detail: I doubt Gómez was a pure “amerindio”. About 98% of Venezuelans are very mixed.

    92%> of our ultimate paternal ancestors are bound to be European, 6% sub-Saharan and 2% Indian. About 50% on the maternal side Indian, 25% European, 25% sub-Saharan. This is based on “haplogroups”, long-term patterns, which is a simplification of the whole picture, but it tells us what we knew from school in Venezuela: we are very very mixed and that at family level. I mean: a Benetton look is the norm in our families. There are indeed patterns: the darker, the poorer – very generally speaking and with a lot of exceptions becoming progressively the rule for decades now.

  27. sid Says:

    As the e-mail is required here, it is in vain, dear Watson´s, to study whether he writes from Turkey or other ctry. Kepler with this Gomez has got right, but please, do note that in European textbooks of LatAm history we hardly find, what Gomez did at the Presid. Palace, that was amerindio and his family was serving at top pos. in pre War Ven. We, the uncountable amount of two historians, that in Czech write on LatAm, suppose Chavez as winner. Sorry to say it, the oppo will not reach two thirds in Parliament, and believe me, that if Hugo receives 50% + 1 vote in the Parliament, will be winner, and law creator for next years. But, if it will be so close, perhaps, Chavez will use soft gloves on oppo. The trouble of Venezuela is not him, but the Cubans and their will. Chavez is a golden puppet, emitting money whenever they need. Unfortunately, in the African wars they didn´t loose a battle. So, why to loose (or give up) in the case of Venezuelan oil colony?

  28. Robert Says:

    MO- back to the topic at of the post, Chavez has made it very clear that regardless of election results, nothing is changing. He’s passed laws recently to facilitate this and will see to it that oppo members of the NA are cut off at the knees. If The oppo took a majority, the NA would become just as irrelevant as they are now, only in a different way.

    I sincerely believe this to be very sad but very true.

  29. Kepler Says:

    Sorry, I did not take out the four last paragraphs and left them without quotes, but they were not even worth commenting.

    Gringo,
    Thanks. That is what I meant. fiefdom. Of course other military honchos have “some” lands there as well, that is how Hugo keeps his people happy.
    Rodríguez Chacín (now dying but giving it all to his relatives) has many thousands of hectares in Barinas as well. Several other Chávez supporters are among the biggest landowners of Venezuela. Many big land owners of yore are tolerated as long as they do not become political. But beware if you have 5 hectares of land and criticize lieutenant-coronel Chávez.

  30. Island Canuck Says:

    His blog page is in Turkish according to Google’s attempt at translation.

    You can’t convert the fanatics.

  31. Gringo Says:

    If the opposition is a chance to win the elections, this is actaully a testament to the fact that Venezuela is indeed a democracy despite having its own problems.
    Apparently lahy has no clue what has occurred when the opposition has won elections at the city and state level.

    firepiggette
    Where do you live?
    The language on the lahy.wordpress.com website is Turkish. Regarding where lahy lives, no telling.

    Kepler, perhaps you could rephrase the part of Barinas [“feud”] to point out that Barinas is today a fiefdom of the Chavez family. Good reply, otherwise ,to PSF # 5132. [lahy: = Pendejos sin Fronteras.]

  32. Kepler Says:

    It seems to me he’s a Turkish-speaking commie.

  33. firepigette Says:

    lahy

    First of all you need to correct your English for it to be more comprehensible.I, for one, have trouble following what you wrote due to so many errors in your writing.

    Secondly:
    You are admittedly basing your arguments on beliefs and not on realities:

    “I believe that whatever happens, Venezuela is going to be a better place to live for all.”

    “I genuinely believe that Venezuela is going to be one of the best places to live in the Latin America in 10 or 20 years time ”

    There is NO empirical evidence that Venezuela is a good place now, and I doubt seriously that you have greater powers of predicting the future than any other.

    Where do you live?

  34. torres Says:

    lahy, the only flaw in your argument is that its premise is that the end justifies the means. Your argument that

    thank you chavez for making this a better country

    is akin to

    thank you child abusing dad for making me a better person.

    chavez could have easily achieved a better country without disrespecting the constitution and the law, starting with a coup against a democratically elected president, following with never really swearing in as president (“moribunda constitución”), spending more money than any previous government yet having very little to show for it, all while failing to represent, even antagonizing a huge portion of the population.

    Even if he’s right that it takes a lot of money, then previous governments cannot be blamed since they never had that amount of money.

    Even if he’s right that a huge portion of the population is brainwashed to serve the purposes of another nation, that huge portion of the population is still Venezuelan, and it is his duty to help these zombified citizens, not distroy them or export them.

    And even if he’s right that this huge portion of the population needs to be destroyed or exported, how do you justify allowing so many of his followers to suffer hunger, disease, and violence in the meantime. He’s had enough money to have taken every single citizen over the poverty line 5-fold, yet look around Venezuela. There are still children of the streets…

    You can’t have it both ways. He can’t be a good guy by being a bad guy. I’m not thanking him for anything.

  35. Kepler Says:

    “If the opposition is a chance to win the elections, this is actaully a testament to the fact that Venezuela is indeed a democracy”

    Was the Pinochet dictatorship a democracy because the opposition won
    in a referendum to get rid of Pinochet?

    “of the barrios. If this is so, then, it will be logical to keep the laws of the revolution whatever happens.”

    Get this in your brain: there has been no revolution. A bunch of military men took power democratically after they tried to do it with violence. They won because we had had the lowest oil prices for many years and they kept power because we have seen the biggest oil boom ever. Get that. Please, learn to read a chart. I learnt that when I was in basic school. Do that as well, it helps understand some very basic facts about economy

    “Why do change it with a neo=liberal one? (In which country neoliberal laws brought the desired development to the poor barrios? one may ask?)”

    Why has the military man Hugo being so keen in changing it himself? We do not want to change it (well, I would personally scratch the Bolivarian name of it, personality cults stink to me and Bolivar was just one personality out of many, but then that is not priority 1 to 10000000).
    What is what you call neoliberal laws? It seems you use the word neoliberal for anything you do not comprehend. Can you give us a concrete example of a “neoliberal law” we want to introduce?

    “Hugo Chaves is to be remembered by the very opposition of today, with reverence instead of condemnation. This is because of the fact that he is actually not a revolutionary but a democrat as well.”

    He is neither a revolutionary nor a democrat. He is a military honcho with a family who treats Barinas as its feud. Democrats recognize that “opposition” is not one position but just group(s) that oppose the governing party in a democracy. You do not seem to be a democrat because you don’t even grasp this. Man, try to understand this.
    Example: Germany has Green Party (completely different from UK or US or French Greens) in the opposition, but also the SPD (social democrats) and the Linke (commies) and the KPD (extra commies) and the NPD (extreme right) and others. They have nothing in common. The same goes for parties in Sweden, in Canada, in Japan, in Spain.
    The same should go for Venezuela, if there were still democracy. But it seems you do not comprehend. For you it is just “the opposition, the foes”

    “Do you remember any other Venezuelan president in modern times, on whom, many books and thousands of articles are written ın many languages or films, made by names like Oliver Stone?”

    Do you remember a German Kanzler from the Weimarer times about whom people have written so many books and shot so many films?
    “names like Oliver Stone”?
    So what? Do you know what “useful idiots” means?

    Neruda was of another scale than Oliver Stone, but have you read the Oda a Stalin by Neruda?

    And please, don’t come with the idiocy that Stalin won WW2. On the Soviet side it was the people. The Soviets won the war in spite of Stalin. And Stalin was a bloody criminal. And a huge amount of useful idiots in the West kept praising Stalin until the guy kicked the bucket and too many skeletons came alight.

    As for parties of the past: you have no idea about Venezuelan history.
    Chavismo is just a continuation of the punto fijismo with a much stronger military stench. It is like AD with Gomecismo combined (I suppose you know nearly nothing of Venezuelan history, look up who Gomez was).

    Not for nothing the greatest bulk of Chavista honchos were actually old adecos: several Chavista governors were adecos, a couple of diplomats were copeyanos, Chavez’s dad was a copeyano, Isturiz was an adeco and then causa errista, police thug Freddy Bernal was first part of an extreme right party that was way to the right of anything and then changed to Chavismo, Chávez himself was and is still an admirer of right-winged dictator Pérez Jiménez.
    The extreme lefties used the milicos with Chavez to try to get to power.
    What happened was that the equation did not work as they thought. The PCV and the others are just tolerated within the PSUV, but this is basically a military regime that uses extreme left practices in as much as they help to keep power.

    For the haciendas for the military honchos there is no left-winged policy to follow.
    At least criminal Lenin had balls and a real idea about what he believed in.
    Chávez has a red baseball cap and images to manipulate people.

    Dou you think that all of us are fools or committed communists of one kind of another and for this reason, are applauding Chavez? Not at all. We are the people, including all kind of opinions, who believe that ‘the another world is possible’

    I genuinely believe that Venezuela is going to be one of the best places to live in the Latin America in 10 or 20 years time but, this is not going to happen if the opposition is adamant not learning from the mistakes of the past, yearning for the days of the past instead of working to build to future.

    However, I am optimistic in general. I believe that whatever happens, Venezuela is going to be a better place to live for all.

    If you a believe in your country and in your future, you may then very well know that the problems of Venezuela can not be solved by the traditional parties of the past (parties of the punto fijo or its current versions)

  36. lahy Says:

    I have read your post with an interest and I found ıt somewhat different than some recent posts despite its usual anti=revolution line. I just want to say what I think frankly and openly:

    If the opposition is a chance to win the elections, this is actaully a testament to the fact that Venezuela is indeed a democracy despite having its own problems.

    You also write that the opposition canditates, .”went there (23 de Enero) with concrete proposals for urban renewals. ” This is actually important not only because they were able to campaign at 23 de Enero, but also, by the fact that the opposition now is making an effort to deal with the problems of the barrios. If this is so, then, it will be logical to keep the laws of the revolution whatever happens.

    HRW, which you have quoted to me recently, actually takes the 1999 Constitution as a progressive reference point. Why do change it with a neo=liberal one? (In which country neoliberal laws brought the desired development to the poor barrios? one may ask?)

    Perhaps in the future, Hugo Chaves is to be remembered by the very opposition of today, with reverence instead of condemnation. This is because of the fact that he is actually not a revolutionary but a democrat as well.

    Do you remember any other Venezuelan president in modern times, on whom, many books and thousands of articles are written ın many languages or films, made by names like Oliver Stone?

    Dou you think that all of us are fools or committed communists of one kind of another and for this reason, are applauding Chavez? Not at all. We are the people, including all kind of opinions, who believe that ‘the another world is possible’

    I genuinely believe that Venezuela is going to be one of the best places to live in the Latin America in 10 or 20 years time but, this is not going to happen if the opposition is adamant not learning from the mistakes of the past, yearning for the days of the past instead of working to build to future.

    However, I am optimistic in general. I believe that whatever happens, Venezuela is going to be a better place to live for all.

    If you a believe in your country and in your future, you may then very well know that the problems of Venezuela can not be solved by the traditional parties of the past (parties of the punto fijo or its current versions)

  37. metodex Says:

    and then theres people like me,im 22 and i haven’t been able to vote because of my id getting stolen and eternal problems with the registro electoral.


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