My friend’s prediction last week of what might constitute a successful outcome was on target.
“The Chavez regime will claim victory if it retains two-thirds plus one of the seats in the new assembly,” he said, explaining that this “qualified majority” would give Chavez the majority he needs to approve organic laws, give the president special powers, appoint the attorney general and Supreme Court justices, etc. As a result, he added, the political opposition can rightfully claim victory in Sunday’s elections if it manages to win one-third plus one of the seats up for grabs, thus denying Chavez the “qualified majority” that he needs to continue trampling on the country’s democratic institutions and freedoms.”
The PSUV/PCV coalition won about 94 seats and the political opposition gained the other 61 seats in the 165-seat National Assembly, according to the CNE’s results, which we’re told are not 100% complete as this post is penned.
President Hugo Chavez lost his “qualified majority” (two-thirds plus 1), and the opposition won over the one-third plus 1 seats that it needed at a minimum to wrest total control of the legislature from Chavez.
But the popular vote reportedly was 52% for the opposition vs 48% for the PSUV/PCV.
The results highlight the success of the regime’s gerrymandering of electoral districts and the general rules of the election game over the past 5-7 years to ensure that it can lose the popular vote and still win just under two-thirds of the majority in the new assembly.
The regime is crowing victory – of a sort. “We’re still the majority,” PSUV/PCV campaign chief Aristobulo Isturiz said this morning. Indeed.
But Chavez made these elections a referendum about himself, boosting the PSUV/PCV turnout in the final two or three weeks before 26 September, yet Chavez still lost the popular vote yesterday.
Without a qualified majority, Chavez no longer can demand/obtain legislation tailored to his Cuba-influenced communist agenda. He can’t get special presidential powers. He can’t appoint the Attorney General or Supreme Court Justice at whim. The systematic legislative abuses committed during the past five years are over, at least hypothetically.
But this new day only starts as of 5 January, 2011.
The current National Assembly continues to legislate until 5 January 2011, for another 100 days or so from today. Plenty of time left for Chavez to continue building the legal bric-a-brac of his new 21st Century Socialist Bolivarian State in Venezuela.
Chavez threatened before the elections that the revolution would accelerate as of 27 September. Will he now put the pedal to the metal in the current National Assembly over the coming weeks/months?
Might Chavez even request special presidential powers to speedily finish enacting by one-man decree his dream of an all-red Hacienda Chavez that formerly was called Venezuela?
Chavez has been driving the National Assembly for months to finish erecting his new communal/communist governance institutions that are designed to emasculate/neutralize the existing constitutional institutions of municipal, state/regional and even national governance. The president’s urgency to complete this task must be much greater this morning than it was last Friday.
If the new National Assembly can’t or won’t give Chavez whatever he wishes, the president and his PSUV/PCV gangsters could easily use the new communal/federal governance entities to circumvent any political obstacles. What will the opposition do then? Complain to the Supreme Court and attorney general?
Looking ahead, will Chavez and his PSUV/PCV thugs allow the new opposition lawmakers to even enter the National Assembly?
I am assuming that the democratic opposition’s new lawmakers probably will desire to walk en masse accompanied by many of their supporters to the National Assembly that starts its five-year term on 5 January 2011.
But this revolution, which is led by a congenital coward-bully and crewed by individuals who view democracy as a means to advance their criminal interests, has a dangerous history of sending its street thugs to physically assault its critics. Remember “No Pasaran”?
Chavez and gang always look for ways to rig the dame in their favor. Yesterday’s elections didn’t change this modus operandi. The momentum is always in one direction, with pauses, changes in velocity and even the occasional apparent retreat when circumstances dictate.
But Chavez and gang are still kings of the mountain, and no pushovers. (Estos carajos no van a soltar ni aflojar las riendas solo porque no hayan logrado todo lo que aspiraban en estas elecciones.)