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article imageTight results expected in Venezuela’s parliamentary elections

By Igor I. Solar     Sep 24, 2010 in Politics
Caracas - Sunday’s parliamentary elections in Venezuela are expected to measure the popularity of President Hugo Chavez, who sees this event as a prelude to the presidential elections of 2012, aiming for a third six-year term in office.
On Sunday, more than 17 million Venezuelans will elect 165 representatives to the National Assembly (Parliament) in an election where the ruling coalition expects to maintain its overwhelming majority to ensure the "future of the revolution."
The polls will determine the preferences of two political blocs with diametrically opposed visions of the country: the alliance of Venezuela's United Socialist Party and the Communist Party (PSUV-PCV), facing opposition forces composed of a dozen right-wing groups called “Mesa de la Unidad Democrática" (MUD) (Bureau of Democratic Unity).
The election campaign ended last night at the time 150 international observers arrived in Caracas to oversee the election process. The observers will visit polling places all over the country and prepare a report to be delivered to the National Electoral Council (CNE).
"The election campaign is over, but it is not the end of the battle. We must work every second, fight every inch, we must start early, at dawn, to go to vote,” Chavez said in one of the campaign closing events. Chávez has referred to the opponents as "the Yankee Empire's candidates".
On the side of the opposition, Ramón Aveledo, spokesman for the Bureau of Democratic Unity (MUD), called "to vote against a National Assembly (legislature) that does not fulfill its constitutional role, which does not legislate for all, and does not control government expenditure." Aveledo has expressed concern about the ruling coalition enjoying advantages in the electoral process, such as public funding and unfair TV exposure. In an interview with Associated Press, Aveledo said:
"It's a fight of David against Goliath, and it's going to end as the Biblical fight did,"
In these elections, President Chávez, who came to power in 1999, started his "pre-campaign" for the presidential elections of 2012, accompanying "his candidates" for Parliament in rallies and political events around the country. Chávez won his last election victory in February 2009 when a referendum approved his proposal for an amendment to the Venezuelan constitution to allow unlimited re-election for all elected positions, including president.
There are 167 seats in the Parliament of Venezuela, of which 90 percent are occupied by representatives of the ruling coalition (PSUV-PCV). The main reason for this is that in the last parliamentary election the opposition bloc boycotted the election because of concerns about potential irregularities. In this occasion the MUD is more confident and expects to obtain close to half the seats in the National Assembly.
The hopes of the opposition are based mostly on the anticipated reaction of voters to the alleged inability of the government to put a stop to corruption and violent urban crime, a 30 percent inflation rate, the effect of the energy crisis, and the “expropriation of private property in the name of social progress”.
View of Downtown Caracas from Mount Avila
View of Downtown Caracas from Mount Avila
G. Rodríguez
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