Monday, December 05, 2005

Venezuela's elections

Although there has been much said about fraud in the congressal election that took place in Venezuela yesterday, it seems that Chavez has done it again.

A week ago, with the withdrawal of several parties from the race because of the rigged system, many pundits started to predict the fall of Chavez. To add to this feeling of vctory, turnout was extremely low: some sites reported a 90% abstinence rate, while the official figures indicate a 75% one. This finally made clear what the majority of Venezuelans think about how democratic their president is - not that Chavez cares much, though.

In any case, there plenty to be worried about. Both the OAS and the EU watchers said the election was peaceful and without complications and it is unlikely they will comply to the opposition's wishes and denounce at the last moment the presence of fraud, even if this is the case (remember the Carter Centre). Moreover, Chavez, whose party and allies won all seats in the congress, has already referred to the opposition as "illegal parties". In his eyes, this pirric victory was in the end just a victory, as that 25% of voters gave him complete control.

We may have just witnessed the death of Venezuelan democracy.


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