Politics, Business & Culture in the Americas

Major Gains for Opposition in Venezuela Vote



The president of Venezuela’s National Electoral Council, Tibisay Lucena, today announced the results of Sunday’s congressional elections. President Hugo Chávez’ United Socialist Party won the majority of seats, 95 out of 165, and the opposition Mesa de la Unidad Democrática (Democratic Unified Panel) won 61 seats, according to preliminary results. Two legislators were elected from other parties and the outcome of seven seats remained in question.

With these results, the opposition claimed victory as it won 52 percent of the popular vote.  Chávez fell short of his goal on Sunday to win two-thirds of the congressional seats, which would have given him the ability to push through legislation without opposition roadblocks.

Chávez, who had controlled 139 of the congressional seats, refrained from making a public appearance and instead opted to connect via Twitter: “Well my dear compatriots, it’s been a great election day and we’ve obtained a solid victory; enough to continue deepening the Bolivarian revolution and Democratic Socialism. We need to continue strengthening the revolution!”

Ramon Guillermo Aveledo head of the Democratic Unified Panel proclaimed, “we are the majority” and it will “only grow further in the next two years” in reference to the 2012 presidential elections. Political analyst and pollster, Oscar Schemel remains cautious and said “this doesn’t mean that Chávez’ leadership has crumbled.”

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