Archive for December 7th, 2013

Venezuelans Go To The Polls. Will It Matter?

December 7, 2013

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I am in Caracas and the excitement over the Mayoral elections is more or less that of an Iguana racing contest in a coastal town: Everybody goes, because there is nothing better to do. But nobody knows the iguana’s, so the betting is slow.

And in this case, Chavista candidates told Nicolas to please stay home and campaign, but don’t show up to raise my hand. So, the excitement is precisely that of whatever the local race may bring. In most places: who cares? How can one get excited about voting for Jorge Rodriguez, for example, the least simpatico and disagreable Chavista ever to hold office. He will likely win.

That is the type of election this is.

And polls claim that Nicolas’ strategy of declaring the war on commerce will work. Will work in that Chavistas that a month ago were thinking of staying home are now thinking of going to vote, as long as there are no lines and they can get something in return. Anything, but one carton of milk is not enough. Come on! We are a democracy! We have a price, but not that low…

So, gimme a break. I will go vote because I am a radical Chavista/opposition.The rest? The weather better be good, my candidate pretty and smart (sorry Potro, sorry Winston!) and I better be in a good mood to show up.  No threats please! And some giveaways are appreciated!

Which only means that the races will be close. Closer than the pollster say. They say that Chavismo has an edge. That Maracaibo and the Metropolitan area are in trouble for the opposition.

I say, that abstention will be the winner and will determine the winners. And that the opposition, Cadakazo or not, will come out on top in total votes. And I claim that rather than the 120 Mayors, an improvement over the less than 50 from the previous election, that the polls say, we will obtain around 140-150 cities, which still means Chavismo can claim a victory in the end with 175-178 cities.

So, the symbols are important. The Metropolitan Mayor, Libertador, Maracaibo, Maracay and Valencia will be the trophies that everyone will want to claim. And I think we lose Maracay and Libertador and that’s it.

But in the end it does not matter. The result will be “even” unless either side can win by 8% points and win some of the emblematic cities from the other side. Which I don’t think will happen, but abstention remains the wild card.

So, in the end it is likely to be a draw. Which implies Chavismo still has a level of support that the opposition can only wait for the Parliamentary elections of 2015 to try to do something about. Two long years from now, in which the revolution will try to press on its radical agenda, in the face of empty shelves, high inflation and Chavez’ weakling son as their leader.

Not a pretty picture, but in the end one that is not likely to change tomorrow even in the context of my predictions, which are considered to be on the very optimistic side locally.

But I call them as I see them. I don’t know whether to wish I am right, or wrong. That is how irrelevant Sunday’s results may be.

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