27 September 2010

Chavez Stymied

In the Venezuelan Congressional elections, exit polling indicates that the Democracy United coalition won 52% of the vote and garnered enough seats to revoke President Hugo Chavez’s legislative rubber stamp for strong arming “21st Century Socialism” policies.

Due to gerrymandering which favored Chavez’s rural strongholds, the opposition’s electoral support did not translate into proportional gains in seats. But it appears that the opposition to Chavez did win more than 33% of the seats in the legislature, which means that Chavez can not hegemonically appoint judges, other officials and pass new laws. If the Democracy United opposition clinches 67 seats, which is possible, then it could block the president's requests for temporary decree powers.

Venezuela has a Presidential Election scheduled for 2012 in which Chavez is a candidate for a third term. But the leader of the opposition is more concerned at the moment about a lame duck session that rushes through Chavista laws before the new Congressional session in January 2011.

Those fears about rushed lame duck legislation seem very familiar between the beltways.

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