Election loss does not mean the end of socialist Venezuela
By Katarina Hall
This week, Venezuela’s opposition won more than two-thirds of the seats in the National Assembly, giving them the power to change the politics of the socialist country. This landslide victory presents the biggest threat to Hugo Chavez’s legacy in over 17 years. The result has the potential to impact the politics of Venezuela, and the region as a whole.
But this victory does not mean the end of President Nicolas Maduro’s regime, nor the revolutionary ideals it’s based on.
In Sunday’s election, Venezuela’s opposition, the Democratic Unity Roundtable (MUD), won 112 of the 167 seats in the legislature. Maduro’s party, the United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV), won only 55. The opposition’s overwhelming majority will give them the power needed to release political prisoners, fire ministers, reshape the judiciary branch, change the constitution, and even start a process to recall the president.
Venezuelans want a change from the socialist policies that have created the country’s triple-digit inflation, recession, chronic food shortages, and a rise in violence. As a recent Pew research poll shows, 85 percent of Venezuelans are dissatisfied with how the country has been managed. The strength of this feeling was clearly reflected in the fact that the elections boasted a 74 percent voter participation rate—the highest for a National Assembly election since the 1990s.
Despite this victory, the situation in Venezuela is still far from ideal. And we don’t yet know what the results of the election mean for the future of the currently socialist country.
We have to be realistic and expect that Maduro’s left-wing revolutionary regime will fight back, as it did in 2008 when Chavez seized control of budget, following an opposition victory in a mayoral election.
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