Since 1992 coup attempts by Hugo Chavez, his name has dominated politics in Venezuela. He first won a Presidential election in 1998, and by 1999 his coalition was able to win 121 out of 131 seats in the Constitutional Assembly election held that year.
But fortunately after almost 20 years of socialist dominance, there is change coming to Venezuela. The Coalition for Democratic Unity (MUD) has badly beaten the Chavezistas, the United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV).
Venezuela’s National Electoral Council has has announced that with 96% of the votes counted, the Chavezistas will have won only 46 of 167 seats, down 53 from the last election. The opposition has won 99 seats, more than the 84 needed for a majority.
Majorities are important. As we saw in Turkey, it’s not enough to prevent the dictator from taking a majority. If you can’t do anything with that result, then the dictator can just take power back. So that MUD won an absolute majority, is important and hopeful for the country.
PSUV does still hold the Presidency, which was bolstered by Chavez in the new constitution written after that 1999 Constitutional Assembly was elected. Chavez’s successor Nicolas Maduro won’t be up for defeat until 2018.
But today, we smile in hope for change in Venezuela, a country that has suffered much under socialism.