Monday, December 03, 2007

Chavez loses referendum

According to the Hands off Venezuela blog, the CNE has announced a narrow victory for NO. Chavez has accepted the result. HOV comments:

in relation to the 2006 presidential elections, the opposition has only increased less than 100,000 votes (thought this is not yet 100% count), while Chávez loses 2.8 million which go to abstention.

Independent polls suggested beforehand that among likely voters, Chavez would probably win it, and furthermore that Chavez's call for socialism to be made part of the constitution was broadly supported. Leaving aside the probably limited effect of 'Operation Pliers', the reality is probably that Chavez's supporters were simply unwilling to turn out to vote for a constitution among whose main priorities was to enhance executive power. This was always the most problematic aspect of Chavez's reforms. Unfortunately, this result will probably strengthen the rightist opposition, despite the continuing popularity of Chavez and his other reforms.