(Updated Sept. 30) Venezuela: PSUV wins clear majority in National Assembly, but capitalist parties return

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Click HERE for official results.

[September 28, 2010 -- According to the United Socialist Party (PSUV) and opposition sources the PSUV and its allies, the Communist Party of Venezuela and Peoples' Electoral Movement (MEP) have won 98 seats, while the parties in the MUD opposition alliance won 65 seats, the pro-oppositom PPT 2 seats and 2 seats went to Indigenous independents. However, official results still give 95 to the PSUV and 62 to the opposition.]
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By Gonzalo Gomez, Caracas

September 28, 2010 -- Aporrea via Green Left Weekly -- In the elections on September 26, the United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV) won a majority of deputies in the National Assembly. The triumph of socialist candidates preserves the political continuity of the democratic process led by President Hugo Chavez, and shows that the majority of the population prefers the anti-capitalist and the socialist path.

But notably, a factor of vulnerability has been imposed, given that the PSUV and its allies did not achieve the necessary two-thirds in order to have an absolute majority. [In the last parliamentary elections in 2005 the opposition abstained and as a result pro-government legislators held 147 seats, something which was inevitably going to decrease in this election as the opposition had decided to participate.]

The right wing, although a minority and far surpassed by the Bolivarians, managed to impose itself as a considerable force in parliament, increasing its ability to interfere with the Venezuelan revolutionary process and place obstacles in the way of the government. This will also strengthen its capacity to make more difficult the challenge that the president and the revolutionary process will have to confront when the time comes for presidential elections in 2012.

According to the National Electoral Council (CNE), the PSUV and its allies won 95 of the 165 National Assembly seats, giving them a parliamentary majority, but not full control of the legislative body. There were still 11 seats undecided at the time of the announcement.

The candidates of the PSUV and the National Indian Council of Venezuela (CONIVE) won six of 12 deputies to the Latin American Parliament, with one seat yet to be determined. As a result, the pro-imperialist right wing will also have a significant weight in this space.

CNE president Tibisay Lucena reported that there had been a historic level of participation in the election, with 66.45% of voters exercising their right to vote, out of a total of 17,575,975 eligible voters. She pointed out the democratic, peaceful and happy conduct of the Venezuelan people in the process, which respected the rules and constitution, shattering once again the versions disseminated by the private media and transnational corporations, which seek to portray the Venezuelan government as "dictatorial."

Bolivarian socialist candidates won victories in Aragua, Barinas, Bolivar, Carabobo, Cojedes, Delta Amacuro, Distrito Capital, Falcon, Guarico, Merida, Monagas, Lara, Portuguesa, Trujillo, Vargas and Yaracuy, as well as equalling [the number of deputies won compared to the opposition] in Miranda and Sucre. The results of Apure state were still pending at the time of reporting.

The capitalist right wing won at least 57 deputies. It won in states of great importance such as Zulia and Tachira. It also won in Nueva Esparta. The margin of victory achieved by the counterrevolution in Anzoátegui state, governed by a Chavista leader, was surprising. In Miranda, there was a tie.

The PSUV will have to more firmly base itself on the social force of the people, on the workers, peasants, movements, organised communities and organisations of popular power. The mobilisation of people and their real active participation through legislative initiatives and closer involvement in the design of the new laws will be essential to achieving revolutionary goals, faced with the right wing that will use its new positions to try to slow down and halt the Venezuelan revolutionary process... The class struggle will be reflected more intensely in the new National Assembly.

[Translated from Aporrea by Green Left Weekly's Kiraz Janicke.]

Electoral results guarantee Venezuela's political and institutional stability

September 27, 2010 -- Venezuelan News Agency -- Venezuela's vice-president Elias Jaua affirmed that the results gained in the legislative elections on September 26 meet the goal aspired during the admirable campaign, which was guaranteeing the political and institutional stability of the country and of President Hugo Chavez. “The Revolution has a comfortable majority in the parliament, which will enable Commander Hugo Chavez to continue governing, giving power back to people and building the path to socialism”, he stressed.

Jaua praised the victory of the people in these elections, which allows the forces of the revolution to continue counting on the majority. “The opposition has no possibility, with that number of deputies, to reverse neither the legislative processes undertaken ... nor the rights and power given back to people. They cannot either activate destabilising mechanisms such as annulling public powers or bringing suit against the president”, Jaua said.

The first bulletin issued by the National Electoral Council, about 02:00 on September 27, reports that Venezuela"s Unified Socialist Party (PSUV) obtained 95 deputies and the opposition 60, while the PPT party obtained two.

However, Jaua said that after the first bulletin, updated reports add up to 98 seats for the PSUV.

The strength of the revolution is noticeable, with the broad majority of deputies obtained in the elections, gaining more seats than those obtained in 2000. In this connection, Jaua reminded that 11 years ago, the then pro-revolution party, the MVR, obtained 92 seats.

In statements to a local radio station, Jaua said that they were waiting for the results of municipality Guacara, central state Carabobo, which could add up to 99 seats for the PSUV.

“Victory is ours”, he stated and he underscored important victories in states up to now considered bastions of the opposition. In Carabobo, for instance, the PSUV obtained six deputies to the three of its rivals; in Miranda, six; and in the Capital District, the revolution strengthened with 10 seats.

The results reported by Jaua give 64 seats for the opposition coalition MUD and three for the PPT, as well as seven posts for PSUV in the Latin American Parliament (Parlatino).

According to Jaua, obtaining 99 seats would enable to the PSUV to have three-fifths of the members of parliament, a qualified majority needed for certain legislative procedures.

A victory for socialism

“This is also a victory for socialism”, Jaua stressed, who added that people, with their majority vote said yes once again to this model of state fostered by President Hugo Chavez.

He stated this is a quantitative and qualitative victory because it shows the high level of conscience, maturity and comprehension of the people about that only in revolution they will continue owning instrument of power to revert structural causes of poverty and so vindicate the national sovereignty.

Furthermore, he highlighted the victory of the revolution on Sunday, which 11 years after President Chavez took office managed to have a majority in the parliament, surpassing the opposition at least by 30 deputies.

He estimated that another point of people's victory is the fact that the opposition, the same who withdrew from the electoral battle in 2005 claiming fraud, accepted today the democratic conditions set by the people.

Jaua also said that these elections “show that the fifth column and reformism are severely punished by the Venezuelan people".

Henri Falcon, governor of the western state Lara and PPT leader, first gained the post with the support of President Chavez. Last year he turned his back on the revolution and began to be active member of opposition sectors. Votes for PPT and other regional parties barely reached 28% in the party-list system, according to the first bulletin issued by the Regional Electoral Council of Lara state. That percentage is equivalent to 206,667 votes. Revolutionary forces, headed by the PSUV, obtained 296,339 of the votes, which match 40.77%. The opposition coalition meanwhile obtained 218,846 of the votes, 30.11%.

PPT single-member candidates did not manage to obtain enough votes either to have a seat in the parliament, which begins duties next January 2011. PSUV obtained six out of nine seats at stake in this region.

CNE: Venezuelan electoral districts drawn by standard method, not partisan politics

By James Suggett

Mérida, September 28, 2010 – Venezuelanalysis.com – In response to accusations by the opposition that the electoral districts were gerrymandered to favour the governing party in the September 26 National Assembly elections, Venezuela’s National Electoral Council (CNE) said on September 28 that the districts were defined according to a standard legal method that was not designed to benefit any particular party.

Opposition leaders have accused the government of drawing electoral districts in a way that over represents rural areas, which are strongholds of the United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV), and under represents major urban centres where supporters of the opposition Democratic Unity Roundtable (MUD) are concentrated. 

While a final vote tally for the elections is not available, unofficial estimates indicate that the PSUV and the MUD were virtually tied in terms of total votes received, while the PSUV won 98 seats in the National Assembly and the MUD won 65.

In an interview with Telesur, CNE director Socorro Hernández said the discrepancy between the total votes and the number of seats won by each party occurred by chance. “The districts were not changed in favour of anyone. They are in accordance with the Electoral Processes Law”, Hernández said in a televised interview on September 28.

According to Venezuela’s electoral system, some National Assembly seats are contested nominally, meaning individual candidates compete and the one who receives the most votes wins. Other seats are contested by political parties, which are granted candidates proportional to the amount of votes they receive. In the September 26 election, 110 representatives were elected nominally and 52 were elected by political party. The final three go to elected Indigenous legislators.

Hernández acknowledged that this system has the potential for a degree of disproportional representation, and she said both the PSUV and the MUD had benefitted from this in the election. She pointed out that the PSUV received at least 40% of the votes in the states of Zulia, Anzoátegui, Nueva Esparta and Táchira, but the opposition won a total of 27 seats in those states compared to seven for the PSUV.

“Are these cases of favouritism for the Democratic Unity Roundtable (MUD)? No. The method defined it that way”, Hernández said. “The results should be reviewed and compared to the law. It is the method which everybody must abide by.”

This method mandates that there be a minimum of three legislators per state, Hernández explained. The total number of legislators for any given legislative term varies in proportion to the population of the country. The number of legislators who will be nominally elected is determined by dividing the total number of residents in any given district by 1.1% of the national population, according to AVN.

Hernández also congratulated the Venezuelan people for having achieved a 66.45% voter turnout rate and maintained a peaceful and respectful environment. She announced that the team of 150 international observers turned in a report to the CNE complementing the council for its efforts to increase voter participation and to facilitate the voting process by placing extra machines in highly populated districts.

The Electoral Processes Law was passed in 2009 by the National Assembly, which at the time was almost 100% pro-government because the opposition boycotted the previous National Assembly election. Some opposition analysts have argued that the law is inconsistent with the principle of proportional representation, which is mandated in Article 63 of the Venezuelan constitution. Article 63 states: “The law shall guarantee the principle of personalization of suffrage and proportional representation.”

Click HERE for the latest official results.

Submitted by Terry Townsend on Fri, 10/01/2010 - 21:16


September 29, 2010 -- The National Assembly elections held in Venezuela on September 26 have produced a clear mandate for continuing and deepening the Bolivarian revolution being led by socialist President Hugo Chavez.

Of the 165 deputies elected, the United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV) won 95 (60% of the National Assembly) and the right-wing Democratic Unity Coalition (MUD) won 60 (40%). Both the PSUV-allied Communist Party and the opposition Fatherland for All (PPT) won three seats. While the official count has yet to be announced, President Chavez has reported that the PSUV and its allies received 5,422,040 votes while the opposition alliance received 5,320,175 votes.

The elections were also an important victory for the revolution because they showed, once again, that the capitalist media’s constant portrayals of the Venezuelan government as “dictatorial” are absurd. There was a historic level of participation in these Assembly elections, with 66.45% of eligible voters exercising their right to vote – a far greater proportion than in any national election in the United States.

International observers – including participants in the Australia-Venezuela Solidarity Network’s brigade to Venezuela in September – reported that the process was conducted peacefully and thoroughly democratically. Even the opposition, which has repeatedly claimed “electoral fraud” since Chavez was elected president in 1998, has acknowledged that the election was free and fair.

The opposition abstained from participating in the last (2005) Assembly elections. This gave pro-Chavez legislators147 seats, a huge majority that was inevitably going to decrease with the opposition deciding to contest this election.

While the PSUV and its allies did not achieve the two-thirds of seats needed to have an absolute majority in the parliament, the results clearly show that the majority of the population prefers the anti-capitalist and socialist path. In the words of Venezuela's vice-president, Elias Jaua, the result “will enable Commander Hugo Chavez to continue governing, giving power back to people and building the path to socialism”.

The broader social-political context in which the majority of people voted for the revolution underlines the strength of the Venezuelan poor’s desire for the radical change that Chavez represents. Just in the last 12 months, the Chavez government has faced:

* the impacts of the global financial crisis;

* widespread sabotage of basic services and infrastructure, especially by the agriculture capitalists;

* a constant propaganda assault by the 75-80% of Venezuelan mass media controlled by opponents of the revolution;

* massive amounts of funding for the opposition provided by the United States; and

* escalating military aggression by the US, including the threat of war.

A report commissioned by the National Endowment for Democracy and published in May 2010 by the Spanish Foundation for International Relations and Foreign Dialogue revealed that this year alone, international agencies – most particularly the US government agency USAID - are investing between $40-50 million in anti-Chavez groups in Venezuela. A large part of those funds have been channelled to the opposition MUD.

There is no doubt that the right wing will use its new positions in parliament to escalate its efforts to stall, sabotage and undermine the revolutionary process. Their goal is to undermine the leadership of Hugo Chavez (the next presidential election is in 2012) and roll back the significant changes in favour of the majority in Venezuela.

These gains were recently outlined by Venezuela’s ambassador to the United Nations, Jorge Valero, when he reported to the plenary session of the United Nations Summit on the Millennium Development Goals on September 21. He pointed out that Venezuela is one of the tiny number of countries that has achieved the majority of the Millennium Development Goals, including:

* Between 1999 and 2009, 60% of all of Venezuela’s revenues have been invested in social programs.

* Between 1998 and 2009, the level of poverty was reduced, from more than 49% to 24.2%. Levels of extreme poverty decreased dramatically, from 29.8% in 2003 to 7.2% in 2009.

* The UN’s Economic Commission on Latin America and the Caribbean has recognised that Venezuela is the country that has most diminished inequality in that region.

* Between 1998 and 2009, unemployment fell by more than 50%, to 6.6%.

* In 2005 the revolution eradicated illiteracy, an achievement recognised by UNESCO.

These are precious steps forward for the people of Venezuela, who will not give them up without a fight. The Australia-Venezuela Solidarity Network offers its full solidarity  to that ongoing struggle, and congratulates the courageous people of Venezuela for their election victory. In the words of President Chavez, it is a victory that makes it possible to “continue deepening Bolivarian and democratic socialism ... continue strengthening the revolution".

Viva people’s power!

Viva the Bolivarian revolution!

Viva Chavez!

 A statement by the Australia-Venezuela Solidarity Network

September 29, 2010