The Uncertain Outcome Of The Venezuelan Parliamentary Election

August 10, 2015

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On Dec, 6th. Venezuela will elect its new National Assembly. Clearly, the opposition will get the most votes, likely by a large margin. But will the opposition “win”. That I am not so sure. Yes, the odds are in its favor and Chavismo seems to be screwing up the economy sufficiently that there is no way Chavismo can win.

But I worry.

I worry, because Chavismo will pull out the 1001 tricks, from gerrymandering, to banning candidates, to cheating. And it is clear that today, Chavismo thinks that it will win. But I think they should be worried too. The trend is so bad for them, that they may need twice as many dirty tricks to win by the time December comes around. As I noted in my last post, the acceleration of inflation, discontent, protests and scarcity is such, that in four months, very few of the hard core Chavistas will give Maduro the benefit of the doubt.

But this does not mean they will vote for the opposition. And the opposition will need all the votes it can get. In fact, the opposition le by the MUD called for a march last weekend. And so few people went, that there were no marches. Some political parties did not even show up. In the end, the “leaders” addressed the militants, but most people that went, left early, disappointed at the non-event.

So, let me show you why I worry.

First, let’s try to remember the last Parliamentary elections. In the last Parliamentary election, Chavismo got 48.1% of the vote and the opposition got 50.2% of the vote. But Chavismo got 59.4% of the Deputies (98 of them) and the opposition only got 40.6% of them (67 Deputies).

Now, most people think that this was mostly due to gerrymandering, the effect of redistricting to favor Chavismo. However, estimates are that the opposition should have obtained 84 Deputies if the system was exactly proportional or a difference of only 17 Deputies (84 for the opposition and 81 for Chavismo). But only 5 of them would be explained by gerrymandering.

The second origin of the difference is that the “opposition” that got 50.2% of the votes, was composed of two parties: The MUD, which got 47.1% and PPT which got 3.2%. Thus, even in the strict sense of the word, Chavismo would have had a majority, as that division between MUD and PPT implied in a “proportional system” that Chavismo would get 84 Deputies and the MUD 76, while PPT would have obtained 4. Add three Deputies that were simply due to this “division”.  Remember this factor later in the post.

A more important factor is the over representation of less populated states. When the Constitution was changed and the Senate was eliminated, each State got three Deputies first then however many their population  would imply. Thus, humble Delta Amacuro with 100,000 voters has 4 Deputies, one for its population and 3 for being a State. Zulia, in contrast, has 15 Deputies, only five times more than Delta Amacuro, despite having a population that is twenty times more.

Similarly, up to 1997, each circuit could not vary by more than a certain amount. This was eliminated and the CNE can decide how few or how many people elect one Deputy in each district. The CNE has wrecked havoc with this.

Other effects, for example, is that PPT got 28% of the vote in Lara State and got no Deputies.

My whole point here is that Chavismo will do anything to manipulate and obtain an edge in the upcoming election.

So, when I hear that Ramos Allup is a candidate in Caracas and Marquina in Lara, I have to worry, because by choosing people arbitrarily and not by primaries, the MUD may be playing into unintended consequences.

And I worry even more when I hear that Claudio Fermín (Yes, he is alive) has decided to run candidates in 16 States, which will run against both the opposition candidates and Chavista candidates. Now, I have no reasons to question Mr. Fermín’s allegiances, integrity and/or beliefs, but after being a no-show in Venezuelan politics for so long, all of a sudden Mr. Fermín has found the resources (read: money) and the people (where?) to run candidacies in 16 States?

Really? Who is paying for this? Pardon me if I am being cynical.

And these candidates will run as “opposition candidates”, against Chavista candidates, managing to do exactly what we don’t want: divide opposition votes. They would help more if they ran like Chavistas. But that is not what they are being paid for.

But the MUD set up itself for a maneuver like this (No doubt promoted and financed by Chavismo) by not holding primaries, by cornering power within the MUD by people that have no constituency and believing that their manipulation will not impact the final number of Deputies.

In one sentence: For being stupid and arrogant.

So, now go back to the thought that PPT subtracted Deputies from the opposition’s total in the 2010 election just by running separately and you will know where I am coming from.  I would not be surprised if Fermín’s candidates are sprinkled selectively in precisely the districts where the opposition may be running into competition.

A carefully placed (and well funded) candidate in ten or fifteen districts, could switch the election to the other side.

Add to that banning people like Maria Corina, cheating, electoral centers with no opposition witnesses, good organizers like Ledezma and Leopoldo being in jail, and it all adds up. You could turn the election on a dime.

And thus, I am worried. Non-marches like last Saturday’s worry me. Movements to have people not vote worry me. The after effect of a loss on Dec. 6th. worries me. Marquina being a candidate in Lara worries me  and the fact that Ramus Allup could get another four years in Venezuelan’s political life, gives me nightmares.

Which is not to say that Chavismo should not be worried. Given the trends, people may be so mad by the time election time comes around that there is no amount of tricks that can help Chavismo. In fact, Chavistas may just stay home and the opposition may surprise the tricksters.

But it is not a predictable outcome and the MUD has not done, in my opinion, the required “smart” job to insure victory. In fact, I think it has done the opposite: It has created the possibility that Chavismo could win, by being so narcissistic and selfish. Legislative elections are won on regional factors, not on playing favorites on parties that have little popularity and constituencies.

You’ve been warned…

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25 Responses to “The Uncertain Outcome Of The Venezuelan Parliamentary Election”


  1. May I simply just say what a relief to uncover an individual who genuinely understands what they’re discussing online.
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  2. […] The Uncertain Outcome Of The Venezuelan Parliamentary Election […]

  3. moses Says:

    There is another Index to compete with Miguel´s ! The IPB – Indice de Pollo en Brasa – Roasted Chicken Index:

    http://runrun.es/la-economia/214117/el-indice-de-pollo-en-brasa-ha-aumentado-160-en-lo-que-va-de-ano.html

  4. moctavio Says:

    The Hyperinflated Arepa Index (HAI) and the DEVIL make it into the WSJ:

    http://www.wsj.com/articles/in-venezuela-economists-improvise-to-track-economy-1439759978

  5. Floyd Says:

    How is the Caracas media covering what is happening in Brazil ?

  6. Ira Says:

    I have totally changed my predictions for the future. And although I’m more psycho than psychic, this is how I think things MAY turn out.

    And it’s in the good news category!

    Yesterday’s polling announcements show only 19% of VZers will vote Chavismo. All of the rest of the votes are going opposition.

    So…

    You can’t steal an election with any kind of validity based on these numbers.

    Now…

    There’s talk here of Maduro doing anything possible to hold on, including stealing the election any way possible. But when you think about it, why should he? Even though an overwhelming opposition victory on Dec. 6 would lead to a recall referendum against him in 2016?

    Smart Chavistas know that the writing is on the wall…the fiesta is over…and they’ve already stolen everything worth stealing. By allowing their legitimate defeat to go through…democratically…they’ve removed the wind from the sails of any punitive actions against them. (Not entirely, of course, but retribution both judicially and $-wise doesn’t stand much of a chance with a democratic turnover to the opposition. They’ll never see a centavo that the Chavistas have stolen.)

    Most important:

    Maduro et al aren’t in this for the ideological bullshit they vomit to the dumb masses. It’s about the B’s and $,

    So by going quietly into the night, they get to keep their money, in countries that don’t want to hang their fucking necks from the lampposts, like they deserve.

    I just had a few rum and Cokes. So if you disagree with my analysis, blame Bacardi,

  7. loose Says:

    Excellent post. I absolutely love this website. Thanks!

  8. M Rubio Says:

    Things are getting more bizzare here by the day. Not only is the currency basically worthless, there’s now talk of the banks not giving clients bills of 100bs…..only small bills. A woman asked me this morning what a person is to do and I told her to take a sack with her when she goes to the bank.

    She’ll probably still vote Chavista in December.

    • Ira Says:

      I’ve ever seen photos of it, but they say pre-Hitler, Germans had to carry their money in suitcases to buy a loaf of bread.

      • Ira Says:

        Never, not ever.

        (We need an edit option here! Some of us are old and feeble and make mistakes!)

      • TV Says:

        Weimar hyperinflation, fifth worst hyper-inflationary episode in history. Second worst is a major red flag for Venezuela, seeing as the country is being compared to it.

  9. jau Says:

    how can a piece of shit organization that have continuously lost to a piece of shit government be narcissistic?

  10. Tony Tan Keng Yam Says:

    It’s even worse than what the Devil describes.

    I don’t think the Chavista Dictatorship has even used Chavez’s most Machiavellian secret weapon of all, Fraudmatic Smartmatic, in the last Parliamentary elections. They only used it for the final infamous in the Presidential “elections”, during the infamous late-evening “prorrogas”, exactly as they did in Brazil.

    What they will probably do, with “El Mago” Smartmatic Rodriguez y su inocente hermanita Delcy, is concede a meaningless, bogus “victory” for the MUD, say 55%. Or whatever, so that the Fraud won’t look that obvious, nationally and international, and to keep the pretense of “democratic elections”.

    Then, with the Gerrymandering, draconian rules, bribes and threats, they will continue to do with the Corrupt MUD whatever they want.

    They’ll just have to use all the tools and tricks in the bag, plus a final Smartmatic adjustments, a bit more severe this time.


  11. […] Excrement looks at The Uncertain Outcome Of The Venezuelan Parliamentary Election Chavismo will do anything to manipulate and obtain an edge in the upcoming […]

  12. Venny Trader Says:

    No, sorry, you don’t get to make any more choices, you’ve exhausted your chances. Game is over for you and the mediocre opposition cheerleaders.

    And Leopoldo doesn’t make the cut. Being a former mayor of Chacao and/or rotting in jail doesn’t automatically qualify you being a leader, you need a bit more (maybe experience running anything aside from being a politician?). Yes, he has courage, yes you can admire him as he put himself through all this struggle when he wasn’t forced to do it. But that’s it, he doesn’t make the cut. For further reference on successful politicians, please check one of the other 195 countries in the world, you might get ideas on how to do things.

    And yes, we will get the government we deserve as long as the only people left that can “think” (or perhaps they can’t) keep being comfortable with the current opposition body. But yes, what the hell, radical times call for radical measures right? Never mind that first you need an entity or group of people that can actually function in a normal environment and deliver in a normal environment. I guess that if it is a radical time, then you would really need people who can actually function even way beyond what is expected in a normal environment.

    And yes, if my position (and that of many others) further divides the opposition, then so be it because the opposition as it is, really doesn’t make things that much more better and is clearly not a viable alternative. Things need to get worse and a new opposition will need to be born for real progress to take place.

    It is funny, hard core opposition supporters are usually upset at the govt. because of the misery they have created, the mess they’ve thrown the country into, etc. and talk about the Cubanisation of the country, yet when it comes to judging its own leaders, hard core opposition are ok with half-baked and mediocre politicians with improvised plans. So in a way, you are very similar to what the govt. offers: improvisation, lack of execution, etc. so why should someone listen to you? You offer mediocrity of the mind and that is also not a way to move forward.

    I am not suggesting to just stand-by and seat idle, I am asking for a different (and a necessary) leadership, a change. I’ve voted for the typical opposition candidates in the past and it has led to nowhere. We need new faces. And what does the opposition do? Not even appoint at least a young politician but just go with Ramus Allup, dismiss Maria Corina and steam roll you all the way (i.e. una patada a la mesa). F-them.

    • Ira Says:

      If you don’t think Leopoldo doesn’t make the cut, who do you think does? Only Jesus himself?

      He is not only highly trained in economics and social issues (he actually has degrees!), his bravery going against Chavismo early on was unmatched. And his sacrifice for the good of the country, stepping aside to help a Capriles win, is certainly not the norm in VZ politics.

      This guy is a hero, and if you don’t recognize it, it demonstrates the whole problem with the Venezuelan electorate.

    • Dean A Nash Says:

      Oh please, Vinny, get a clue. What experience did Mandela have (other than rotting in jail for 27 years)? He did an outstanding job of leading South Africa out of the darkness.

      Need another example? How about Deng Xiaoping, the man who saved China. His experience was, to put it nicely, as one of the top people in charge as the country was perpetually screwed by one Mao mistake after another. And while he didn’t rot in jail, he was “exiled” to work on a truck assembly line, before regaining power and transforming China.

      Leadership IS about courage. And more importantly, SACRIFICE. People willing to give up what is best for themselves in order to create a better place for the rest of us. It’s sorely lacking around the world, so you can be forgiven for not having a clue about it. Now you know.

  13. Bruni Says:

    I could not agree more. Miguel.

    We have had 16 years of chavismo because we have a bad opposition. They have had two strategies over the years:

    1.- Say that Chavismo is invincible
    2.- The moment they feel they can win anything, they start their petty politics

    Both strategies scare our voters and give chavismo an edge.

  14. Venny Trader Says:

    Announce an official dictatorship? The dictatorship is coming sooner than later? Please, “con que se come eso?”

    I am shocked to still see how many people are still apologetic of the opposition’s incompetent actions AND even worse, their complacency over the course of so many years. It needs to stop. Why do you want to give them another chance? They have been doing this wrong for 15 years in a row. Isn’t it time to do things differently? Not letting MCM (which by the way, I personally don’t think is a decent politician) and choosing people like Ramos Allup to run is not exactly a good starting point, it is even worse, it is the complete opposite! What we need is a spontaneous civilian movement and civilian leaders strong enough to avoid being hijacked by opposition politicians (which have hijacked every spontaneous movement which has popped up in the past 15 years and to the detriment of such movement – i.e. movimiento estudiantil, protests in La Casona in the early 2000’s etc.)

    Fine by me if anyone wants to come up with the mediocre argument that current opposition is better than Chavismo, that this is the less worse option. Can’t you see that if we would have had better opposition politicians, we would probably have a different govt. by now? But sure, let’s just let mediocrity keep on being our guideline. It’s not like we have tried this before right? Once again, brace for govt. to win and don’t be shocked when it happens. It is expected, it has been the norm rather than the exception for the past 15 years and the opposition hasn’t magically got any better at execution. Keep sipping your victory Kool-Aid while a train at full speed is coming your way.

    Mediocre politicians = mediocre results

    • Dean A Nash Says:

      Radical times call for radical measures. Right now, there is a defacto dictatorship. Shortages will merely expose the government for what it is.

      As for the leader you need, last I checked, he was rotting in jail. The pueblo – opposition and not – clearly couldn’t care less. If even just 10-15K did, they could simply surround Miraflores and demand his release.

      You get the government (and dictatorship) that you deserve. (Some laws are universal.)

  15. Dean A Nash Says:

    I don’t agree with TV Says that a dictatorship would cost the regime dearly. I mean, with whom? The Chinese couldn’t care less. The OAS is as useless as tits on a bull, so who?

    However, I do agree with TV Says that dictatorship is coming sooner than later, particularly if Miguel’s analysis is spot on (which it usually is). To wit: “Given the trends, people may be so mad by the time election time comes around that there is no amount of tricks that can help Chavismo.”

    So here’s my dime’s worth (inflation is rampant): No elections, no longer any need (or resources) to pretend. It’s super easy for the government to create CHAOS and ride in to the rescue. They kill a few hundred, even if they’re their own, who would know? Just dead bodies…no free media to report the truth. From there, Chavez will have achieved his dream, from the grave no less: Venezuela will be like Cuba. No freedoms, minimal rations, no hope. Regrettably, this day is coming much faster than anyone wants to admit.

    • TV Says:

      Well, if the dictatorship wouldn’t cost the regime dearly they wouldn’t need to expand the preciously few resources they still have to run a sham election.

  16. Leopoldo Aguerrevere Says:

    Miguel.

    Muy bueno tu análisis.

    Saludos.

    Leopoldo

    Sent from my iPad

    >

  17. TV Says:

    From one perspective, MUD approach makes perfect sense. Chavizmo has the necessary tools to stop the election, and announce an official dictatorship, Cuba (or North Korea) style. If backed into a corner, with no possibility to win, a coup like that is the only way things could play out. It would cost the regime dearly and they would want to avoid it at all costs, but it is still better than loosing power and ending up jailed, exiled or dead.

    On the other hand, facing a scenario in which they could “win” the “election” makes them fight a massive uphill struggle – they could “win”, but they could very well loose. However, thus far they opt for fighting the fight they are not equipped to handle. A “victory” gives them a few months of respite at best, and an immediate popular uprising at worst.


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