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  HOME | Opinion (Click here for more)

VenEconomy: Readings on the Election Calendar

From the Editors of VenEconomy

It is an inescapable fact that the different elections that are to be held in Venezuela will be affected by the health of the President and candidate Hugo Chávez. Even before the National Electoral Council (CNE) had announced this Tuesday the calendar for the three elections that are pending, there were already at least two currents of opinion doing the rounds in Venezuela:

One maintained that, if the President’s state of health were serious, the CNE would bring forward the presidential elections; and the other sustained the hypothesis that, if Chávez was clearly on the road to recovery, the December date for the elections would be maintained.

The CNE has already announced the method to be used and the dates for the elections: the presidential elections on October 7, 2012; the elections for state governors in December 2012; and the municipal elections in April 2013.

The mystery over the election calendar having been solved, now the analyses of the repercussions of holding the presidential elections ahead of the regional and municipal elections and the strategies to be used will start.

One reading maintains that the plan is for Chávez to be reelected on October 7, which would strengthen the government’s position and generate sufficient momentum to allow the Chavistas to sweep the board at the elections for governors. If the elections had been scheduled differently, with the regional elections being held before the presidential elections, the likelihood is that the Chavistas would lose one or more emblematic state governments, which would generate a different momentum that would work against Chávez’s reelection.

Another reading has it that, by bringing the elections forward by a couple of months, they are ensuring that, if Chávez loses the presidency, Chavismo will have an ample four-month margin in which to loot whatever assets the country still has left, as the Sandinists did in 1990 when the Unión Nacional Opositora candidate, Violeta Chamorro, won the presidential elections in Nicaragua.

Much water will have to flow under the bridge between now and October 7, 2012. The first thing is that has to be done is for the CNE to establish the schedule of events in order to define strategies for preventing the Chavistas from continuing in power.

VenEconomy has been a leading provider of consultancy on financial, political and economic data in Venezuela since 1982.

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