Things are certainly complicated. While in almost any other electoral context the Venezuelan regional elections would have been considered a near-sweep for Chavez’s United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV), the situation is actually not so clear-cut.
The election had record-breaking participation (65.45%) and the PSUV won 17 of 23 state governorships, but lost some really crucial states. It also seems that they lost pretty handily in Caracas itself. Now, this is the first election for this new socialist party, so one could argue that they kicked ass. But reading commentary on some Chavista sites, it seems that this shows a decline for their candidates…and it specifically shows a dissatisfaction with the way that Chavista politicians (not necessarily Chavez himself) are governing.
Looks like the next couple of years will be rocky for the Venezuelan process. Just like the aftermath of Chavez’s failed constitutional reform last year, he’s going to have to shake stuff up, and there is a big question of whether changes will fall to the right or to the left. If he’s listening to his base, it sounds like they want more power for the communal councils, more accountability from the representative elements of the government, and less corruption and clientelism.
I’ll hope to keep writing about this as my understanding gets better (or my questions get more profound), but for now I’m afraid I have little to say that’s not being said on Venezuela Analysis.
Meanwhile, in Ecuador, general elections to elect the new government after the recent passing of the new constitution will be held in late April. And in Bolivia and Paraguay? Hmm…don’t know. Should do some reading about that.