Monday, December 05, 2005

Suicide is painless 

As expected yesterday was certainly very anticlimatic. The two things that were expected to happen happened. First Chavez-allied parties won virtually the entire National Assembly. El Universal gives the prilimary breakdown of the results with the major parties getting the following number of seats in the 167 seat chamber:

MVR 105

PPT 11

Podemos 9


UVE (the MVR twin) 12

So as Ultimas Noticias headlined this morning the National Assembly is now painted red. And there is no representation there by the old and by now discredited parties such as AD, COPIE, and even the newer Primero Justicia.

Given that with the boycott the outcome was a forgone conclusion the voter turnout was light. The statistics now put abstention at 75%. The opposition is trying to assert that this is 75% rejection of Chavez which is of course a completely absurd arguement. In legistlative elections most people do not vote to begin with. Furtmore, if the outcome is a forgone conclusion as it was in this case then there is less incentive for people, either pro or anti Chavez, to vote. Further over at the Lubrio blog there is an interesting analysis showing that the opposition only increased abstention by 7% as that was the increase in the abstention rate between last Augusts municipal elections and yesterdays vote.

Some of the arguements by the opposition are so self delusional that you would think they were being made by 6th graders. They argue that the low turnout means the results are somehow not legitimate?!?! I guess the famous maxim that in a democracy you count those who vote not those who do not vote is something they never learned. They further argue that the result shows Chavez does not have a high level support as if he did where were all the people turning out to vote for him. With victory assured I would imagine that a good many of them went shopping or just stayed home.

I do not know what more to say about this right now. Unless the international observers refuse to validate the results I do not think there will be much more to talk about. Save that this monumental blunder by the opposition is just one more to add to the list, and one they will probably come to see as a tremendous mistake 6 months from now when it is too late to do anything about it.

BTW, as an update to what I saw yesterday I spent most of it visiting people in Los Teques which is a upper middle class area in the mountains south of Caracas. The big mall there, Las Cascada, was mobbed (gee the economy is really doing sooooooo bad) and the one polling station I saw looked to be empty. Not surprising given the location. In the evening when I returned to El Valle there certainly was a festive atmosphere whith constant fireworks going off until the rain mercifully put an end to it after mid-night so you could sleep.


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