Chavez loses supermajority in legislative elections

posted at 11:36 am on September 27, 2010 by Ed Morrissey

If Hugo Chavez intends on grabbing full power in Venezuela, it looks as though he has a short window of time in which to do so.  His party and leadership got rebuked by voters in yesterday’s election as Chavez lost the supermajority in the legislature necessary for him to rule by decree.  The opposition gained a majority in the popular vote, perhaps sending a signal that Chavez may be on his way out in 2012 if elections get held as scheduled:

Venezuela’s President Hugo Chávez suffered a major political blow in congressional elections, losing the ability to pass new laws at will after opposition candidates banded together.

Mr. Chávez still enjoys a congressional majority after winning at least 95 of the 165 seats. But opposition candidates won at least 59 seats, enough to strip Mr. Chávez of a two-thirds majority—the threshold needed to pass sweeping legislation in the congress. More importantly, the opposition says it won 52% of the popular vote which will give them momentum going into the 2012 presidential elections. “We are the majority,” said Ramón Guillermo Aveledo, an opposition director. …

“A new cycle begins today,” said Carlos Ocariz, the opposition mayor of Petare, a sprawling mostly slum district that was once a Chávez stronghold, but which elected an opposition deputy on Sunday. “Chávez’s rollercoaster is going down.”

That’s probably true — as long as Chavez doesn’t change the rules of the game first.  He has three months before the next legislature takes its seats, which means Chavez can still use the lame-duck session to pass whatever he wants.  He has not exactly been shy about using that process for his own ends before this, and it may mean that most of the damage the opposition hoped to avoid with a victory will already be a fait accompli by the time they arrive.

How did Chavez manage to lose the election in the first place?  Despite having a still-significant popularity in Venezuela, especially among the poor, the economy has rattled his power base.  Oil prices are high, but Venezuela still has energy shortages from lack of refining and electrical production.  Inflation has caught fire, rising as high as 30%, which has a tremendously regressive impact.  Meanwhile, his socialist worker’s paradise has had the usual problems in efficiency and accountability; one recent scandal, the Wall Street Journal reports, involved the delay in distributing food from government-run centers until it had rotted into uselessness.

Chavez may have suffered a setback, but he has overcome those in the past, usually with a combination of charm and brute force.  If he can’t feed the people and can’t keep the lights on in Venezuela, he can still use his near-dictatorial powers to ensure that the opposition doesn’t stick around long.


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Comments

This is awesome news. Maybe one day soon there will be one less nutty dictator to worry about

orfannkyl on September 27, 2010 at 11:41 AM

Couldn’t happen to a nicer guy. Mr. Obama, I hope you are paying attention.

JamesLee on September 27, 2010 at 11:42 AM

It’d be a miracle if they were able to get rid of Chavez without bloodshed. I highly doubt that even if he doesn’t outright cancel elections that he’d step down if he lost.

And the fact that he’s not hated and reviled is sad. He’s run his country into the ground, crushed his people’s freedom, and builds his power upon their backs. If he cancels elections there needs to be a revolution.

Kronos on September 27, 2010 at 11:42 AM

Chavez will cling on to the bitter end. This type usually end up badly. Too bad Obama isn’t paying attention.

Bob in VA on September 27, 2010 at 11:43 AM

Is President Putz watching? He doesn’t listen to us, but perhaps he will take notice of the failings of one of his idols.

Cody1991 on September 27, 2010 at 11:43 AM

I don’t think Obama’s buddy will just accept what the voters say.

darwin on September 27, 2010 at 11:46 AM

It’s not a question of whether he’ll declare martial law, but when.

Damian P. on September 27, 2010 at 11:47 AM

First Chavez, next Obama. Looking to be a bad year for Marxist narcissists.

slickwillie2001 on September 27, 2010 at 11:48 AM

Blood will spill before pineapple face goes anywhere.

President for life.

rickyricardo on September 27, 2010 at 11:50 AM

Did Jimmie certify the results?

BTW, I do sincerely hope Chavez is on the way out.

tomg51 on September 27, 2010 at 11:50 AM

I wonder if Obama will issue a statemnet of support for Chavez.

darwin on September 27, 2010 at 11:50 AM

The opposition got 52% of the vote but only 36% of the new legislature? How did that happen?

jwolf on September 27, 2010 at 11:51 AM

Sounds like it’s time for some re-education camps. Clearly the Venezuelan people are too stupid and/or uninformed to appreciate the brilliance of dear leader.\\

AZCoyote on September 27, 2010 at 11:53 AM

Couldn’t happen to a nicer guy. Mr. Obama, I hope you are paying attention.
JamesLee on September 27, 2010 at 11:42 AM

When it comes to leading and legislating during a lame-duck session, I’m afraid Nobama WILL be paying attention. Reid and Pelosi, too.

joejm65 on September 27, 2010 at 11:55 AM

This result is amazing, given that Chavez controls the media outlets.

Are these opposition forces to the right or to the left of Chavez?

I guess that we will not know the “official results” until Jimmah Cahtah weighs in.

onlineanalyst on September 27, 2010 at 11:55 AM

Sounds like Chavez is going to have to make sure that a lot of people are killed between now and his election… Otherwise we will have to cheat in the election.

jeffn21 on September 27, 2010 at 11:57 AM

Maybe the stench of sulfur is simply too much for the Venezuelans.

Cody1991 on September 27, 2010 at 11:58 AM

The opposition got 52% of the vote but only 36% of the new legislature? How did that happen?

jwolf on September 27, 2010 at 11:51 AM

They thought they were voting for Pat Buchanan.

Attila (Pillage Idiot) on September 27, 2010 at 11:59 AM

“The Venezuelan people acted stupidly.”

-PBHO

Bishop on September 27, 2010 at 12:01 PM

Don’t worry Hugo, Obama has your back.

/disgrace

pseudonominus on September 27, 2010 at 12:02 PM

Mr Obama, the Evil Clown is feeling bummed out today. Would you please give the poor ruthless, lawless thug another huge smile & warm handshake? You know, the kind you’d never give to US allies.

itsnotaboutme on September 27, 2010 at 12:02 PM

I’ve been waiting for it……Sean Penn hardest hit.

gmbdds on September 27, 2010 at 12:03 PM

How’d he do in Ohio?

Those Venezuelans are just a bunch of racists anyway.

NoDonkey on September 27, 2010 at 12:04 PM

Chavez may have suffered a setback, but he has overcome those in the past, usually with a combination of charm and brute force. If he can’t feed the people and can’t keep the lights on in Venezuela, he can still use his near-dictatorial powers to ensure that the opposition doesn’t stick around long.

Welcome to the future of the United States of America.

capejasmine on September 27, 2010 at 12:05 PM

Poor Danny Glover.

tommer74 on September 27, 2010 at 12:07 PM

capejasmine on September 27, 2010 at 12:05 PM

Not likely.

NoDonkey on September 27, 2010 at 12:07 PM

Next step, the lamp-post?

OldEnglish on September 27, 2010 at 12:09 PM

May he go the way of Mussolini.

esnap on September 27, 2010 at 12:10 PM

Welcome to the future of the United States of America.
capejasmine on September 27, 2010 at 12:05 PM

I don’t look good in chain, they don’t match my eyes; I would have to fight back instead.

Bishop on September 27, 2010 at 12:10 PM

OldEnglish on September 27, 2010 at 12:09 PM

I like what the Italians did to Benito, that had style.

NoDonkey on September 27, 2010 at 12:10 PM

Ceausescu

esnap on September 27, 2010 at 12:20 PM

NoDonkey on September 27, 2010 at 12:10 PM

It was a real gas. =)

OldEnglish on September 27, 2010 at 12:20 PM

Chavez is what Allende was trying to be. This is why the Left loves him. If he faces electoral defeat with bloodshed, the mask is off.

Sekhmet on September 27, 2010 at 12:22 PM

Chavez loses supermajority in legislative elections

Really?

Reuters headline says, Setback for Chavez in Venezuela vote

Associated Press headline says, Chavez allies win congressional majority in vote

Strange

BDU-33 on September 27, 2010 at 12:25 PM

Unexpected.

NoDonkey on September 27, 2010 at 12:25 PM

Here is a cute Gerrymander that Obama could use.
“The changes mean that 20,000 people in pro-Chavez Amazonas state elected a single lawmaker, giving them the same representation as 350,000 people in the opposition-controlled capital of Caracas.”
http://noir.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601087&sid=a2xrT3HdD27A&pos=9

burt on September 27, 2010 at 12:30 PM

The opposition got 52% of the vote but only 36% of the new legislature? How did that happen?

jwolf on September 27, 2010 at 11:51 AM

Some districts went for opponents with very high numbers while Chavez districts were much closer votes.

Of course, this includes the inevitable vote fraud that leftists and tyrants (but I repeat myself) love so much. Without the inevitable fraud, the result would likely have been much closer.

iconoclast on September 27, 2010 at 12:30 PM

capejasmine on September 27, 2010 at 12:05 PM

I hope the change you predict is unrealized, but I wish I had more confidence.

burt on September 27, 2010 at 12:34 PM

The Crimson Wave is a-headed southward!

fusionaddict on September 27, 2010 at 12:46 PM

Is it November 3rd already?

Chip on September 27, 2010 at 12:55 PM

If Hugo Chavez intends on grabbing full power in Venezuela, it looks as though he has a short window of time in which to do so.

He has exactly the same amount of time to consolidate power as any dictator-for-life has.

If constitutions mattered, there would never be any such thing as Socialism in the first place.

logis on September 27, 2010 at 12:58 PM

Lame Ducktator.

loudmouth883 on September 27, 2010 at 1:10 PM

“This is awesome news. Maybe one day soon there will be one less nutty dictator to worry about

orfannkyl on September 27, 2010 at 11:41 AM”

Dictators are seldom voted out of office. (I’d say never, but without looking it up I’m willing to bet some dictator somewhere accepted being voted out.)

We may have our own Chavez like dictator to deal with, so we should pay attention. We already have a congress and a President who ignore the wishes of the elctorate, just like dictators we have all read about.

How big a leap is it from where ODumbo is now to Chavez?

dogsoldier on September 27, 2010 at 1:27 PM

He’ll just scroom his populace faster and more intensely, same as Obama will the U.S. in the two years he has left.

Sad that Venezuala and Cuba try to free themselves while the U.S. tries hard to lose her liberty.

Schadenfreude on September 27, 2010 at 1:31 PM

Marshall Law in 3, 2, 1….

Bevan on September 27, 2010 at 1:35 PM

Cuba now Venezuela… why do people keep rejecting paradise?

mankai on September 27, 2010 at 2:16 PM

He should have run against Bush and touted national health care more.

mankai on September 27, 2010 at 2:16 PM

Maybe Sean Penn,Danny Glover,and Oliver Stone can fly south and give him a hug…..

adamsmith on September 27, 2010 at 2:21 PM

How long until the opposition leaders are arrested and all opposition parties are declared illegal and even membership is illegal with life in prison with execution by inmates

I say this will happen before they even sit one day.

tjexcite on September 27, 2010 at 5:01 PM