Venezuela Opposition Parties Gain in Elections, But Far from Defeating Chavez

Venezuelan Opposition parties gained more seats than they had in the previous Parliament. However, they stood far away, from what they need to prevent Chavez coming to power again in 2012. Mr. Chavez is seeking re-election in 2012. The opposition parties expressed confidence they would be able to defeat Mr Chavez by that time. They expressed happiness for increasing their tally.

Chavez hails election win Election authorities said that Chavez’s Socialist Party won at least 94 seats -16 seats short of 2/3rd majority- and that the Democratic Unity, an umbrella of several opposition parties, won 60 seats. While other parties had five seats, six seats are yet to be declared.

Opposition Jubilant

The Opposition parties are jubilant that they won more than third of the total 165-seat Assembly and claimed to win 52 percent of the popular vote. Their supporters sang, “We are the majority!” after the results were declared.

This is the 12th year Mr. Chavez is in the office, during which the opposition tried several times in several ways to dethrone the President Hugo Chavez. This time, although they did not get even simply majority, the results are unexpected to them also. Some of them boycotted last elections in 2005.

The opposition parties call Mr. Chavez an autocrat ruler will be pursuing hard to defeat him in coming 2012 presidential elections. If the opposition claim of winning 52% popular vote is confirmed it could somewhat be a blow to Mr. Chavez as the opposition can now prevent him from passing laws unilaterally without their support.

Future of Socialist Reforms

According to the law, President Chavez needs two-thirds majority in the National Assembly to get his socialist reforms passed smoothly without hindrance. Now, loosing that majority, he may have to turn some of the opposition parties that

could be a difficult task. With two-thirds majority in hand, the President can appoint the Supreme Court judge. As Mr. Chavez has lost the required two-third majority, the future of socialist reforms is jeopardized.

Mr. Chavez became a world figure by defeating the US’ sponsored coup with popular support against the coup. From then on, he took several steps that influenced the political economy of the nation largely. He resorted to nationalization of several private companies including oil firms. He is most popular among rural areas of the country. Political analysts and the press people say Mr. Chavez is highly unpredictable.

Is it Socialism?

Although Mr. Hugo Chavez calls himself pursuing socialist construction, it may not be so, because mere nationalization and throwing away the private capitalist giants cannot be socialism. They were once steps taken by the rulers in the Socialist regimes like Russia under the leadership of Lenin and Stalin, after defeating bourgeoisie class through the Socialist Revolution. They were tools used by Socialist Russia in the path of achieving Socialism. So, the tools (nationalization, collectivization through co-operative societies etc.) themselves cannot be called socialism.

As the famous socialist critic James Petrous said once, a new capitalist class began to take shelter under the umbrella of Socialism, which benefits from nationalization of resources. They can be placed at the most at left of the centre, but not at left.

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