Venezuela Municipal Elections: some symbolic results
09.08.05 | Finally, the extremely slow CNE page is releasing some results. I have
compared what can be compared, that is the list votes to council folks
and the list votes for the state assemblies of October 2004, which were
already much lower than the votes for governor or mayor. Of course,
this is assuming that what the CNE publishes ressembles the truth.
San Felipe is lost for the opposition.
In October 2004 with 34% abstention, the Chavez candidate got 5 894
votes. Yesterday the chavista list got 6 006, a thin increase. The
opposition had carried San Felipe for Lapi's party with 9 996. Now it
has 2 853, a drop of 71%. So, before anyone says that the talent of
Gimenez at the Yaracuy state since late 2004 is responsible for the
victory, I would suggest that they get their calculator and verify
these numbers. Any victory of chavismo in San Felipe is by forfeit.
Chavismo might be happy to gain the town hall but it is a hollow
victory. If fair elections ever come again to Yaracuy, they should
worry about their seats as they have failed to grow after 10 months in
office except for the newly registered voters as per the change in
public workers that moved to San Felipe. I do not think that the drop
in Convergencia vote is solely due to pro Lapi public workers moving
out..... As for the opposition, in flawed 2004 elections it still
managed to retain San Felipe. They could have retained town hall. Now
they will have to deal with the chavista folks in town hall, harakiri
is thy name.
Caracas Park Avenue, Chacao, remains Primero Justicia.
In 2004 Chacao voted 20 844 for the state assembly in spite of an
already strong abstention movement (something that did not happen in
Yaracuy). This time the PJ list dropped to 14 693, a solid 30% FURTHER
drop. Chavismo was 4 402 and this time drops to 3 120! A 25%! And those
are some of the rich chavistas (Rodriguez among many lives in Chacao,
in a luxurious pent house, I was told).
Baruta, middle and upper middle class stays PJ.
37 797 in October 2004, but this time 12 395!! Yet chavismo goes from 9
011 to 6 359. So, there is chavista abstention even though by voting
they would have had a chance to improve their holdings in Baruta and
embarrass PJ. But the anger of the middle class for the system cannot
be hidden anymore, even the middle class chavistas as I assume there
are some in Baruta.
Chavismo abstains in popular Caracas neighborhoods. Sort
of looking at random I picked El Valle, a low middle class and lower
class neighborhood. In October the MVR, Chavez list, got 17 985. This
time it got 10 485. A 42% drop is just not normal, no matter what spin
chavismo puts on, in particular when the October 2004 elections had
already some abstention effect in the Caracas area, including El Valle.
Interestingly although not a PJ area this one did run a list both times
but experienced a slight increase! From 905 to 1032. In 2004 the MAS
(center left) was running in the union list with PJ but this time went
alone. And its vote, although meager, also went up from 145 to 479.
Thus clearly there is something else going on in El Valle: the locals
are not happy with the infamous Bernal, at the very least, and some are
unhappy enough to go out to vote for someone else.
PJ points its nose in the provinces.
In Lecherias PJ gets 2 501 votes to 842 for the MVR! Up from the 1 320
from 2004 whereas MVR actually goes down from its 1 211 result! Even if
Lecherias is a rather open area that lives on tourism and thus more
open to the language of PJ, it is still a demonstration that with time
an effort PJ can get a few townhalls outside of Caracas. But in Maracay
more affluent Las Delicias PJ fails to pierce even it it gets into
second place, probably victim of abstention, and a heavy wealthy
military component in the neighborhood cashing on Chavez bonanza. Thus
the MVR gets 4 070 to PJ 973. AD is a distant memory in Las Delicias.
Proyecto Venezuela in big trouble.
In the affluent Naguanagua district the PV list vote went down from a
2004 total of 13 545 to a stunning 1 995! The lack of fighting spirit
of Salas Feo, the defeated and more than likely cheated out ex governor
might have had something to do with it as his electors just abandoned
his party! In rural Bejuma it is a complete collapse. PV goes down to
111 from a 2 388 in 2004! The implosion of PV is just a major fact of
this election as even in Caracas very affluent El Hatillo district, PJ
takes the majority of the town hall and they are not in best term with
the barely reelected and very questioned PV mayor Catalan who probably
worries as of today of a Recall Election on him next year, even if PJ
does not ask for one.
AD in trouble too.
Monagas state was a bastion of AD. Well, apparently no more. In one of
the state capital Maturin districts, San Simon, AD drops to third with
1 889. It had 16 348 less than a year ago! But MVR has nothing to write
home about. It also drops to 11 308 from a high of 20 445. But
apparently some divisions among chavismo there is responsible for that
result. Yet, the drop is impressive! In Lara we can see more trouble
for AD. It seems that the division tactics of AD there affected any
recovery it might have hoped. In Barquisimeto's Catedral parish we can
see the order of players evolve. In 2004 we had MVR with 14 412, PJ
with 1 309 and AD with 1 304. In second was a coalition now gone but
whose main party was OFM with 3 617. Today we see MVR with 9 573
(chavismo suffers as in Caracas, even in militant Lara), PJ gets a
decent 1 167 which brings it to a sudden second in an area which is not
very favorable a priori, OFM drops to 4 with 978 votes and AD to a
distant 6th with 826! Though there is a chavismo dissidence with the
Communist party getting a third position with 1 079 as governor Reyes
Reyes dynastic intentions are causing trouble in chavismo rank and
file. Thus AD seems to continue its decomposition as its isolationistic
and arrogant position is not bringing the dividend it hopes even when
chavismo falls back some.
Even in Margarita island where it
holds a governor, AD is not faring much better. Porlamar, the main city
of the state, sees AD go down form a 2004 of 4 220 to a 3 085 today.
Each time, even though the MVR is rather unpopular in Margarita whose
tourism industry has suffered through currency controls and import
restrictions, the MVR wins, in 2004 with 7 153 and yesterday with 3
903, admittedly a spectacular drop! Chavismo CAN lose votes!
There is no need this time to make a deep analysis as I did in previous
electoral moments. Besides, the nefarious role of the now infamous CNE
is even more perturbing, even less favorable for a serious analysis of
the real trends of the country as it was in October or August 2004. The
only conclusion that one might dare to draw is that chavismo is much
more vulnerable than thought at first. But we can also conclude that
the opposition is far from showing any ability to gain from this. PJ
ascendancy is far from assured though of all the opposition parties it
is the only one that can lick its wounds. AD is not yet dead but it is
corpse like in texture. The others are pretty much history or reduced
to local accidents such as Rosales in Zulia state or Copei reduced to
Tachira. PV might be gone. The center left is not even ready to run in
competitive elections. However those conclusions are drawn, and I must
insist on that, under the light of the consequences of an ethically
corrupt CNE who has deeply damaged the electoral act.
more interesting post to be written later is to study how come chavismo
has such a sudden weakness. Or to discuss what the abstention camp, a
very meager victor, and an ineffectual one, will offer now. But that
will have to wait for another day.
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