Venezuelan opposition sweeps parliamentary elections
CARACAS, Venezuela -- Venezuela’s National Electoral Council (CNE) has released the preliminary but “irreversible” results of the country’s National Assembly elections.
In the early hours of Monday morning, Tibisay Lucena, the president of the CNE, congratulated the Venezuelan people on their impressive “demonstration of civility” before announcing that the opposition coalition, Mesa de la Unidad Democrática (MUD) [Roundtable of Democratic Unity], had swept to victory in Sunday’s legislative elections, venezuelanalysis.com reported.
According to Lucena, the ruling Partido Socialista Unido de Venezuela (PSUV) [United Socialist Party of Venezuela] had so far gained just 46 seats in parliament, while MUD had gained 99 out of a total of 167 – according to the most recent count. Twenty-two seats are yet to be announced, including three representatives for the country’s indigenous population.
Tibisay also highlighted the unprecedented level of voter participation and revealed that turnout had reached 74.25% of the registered electorate.
The announcement came on the heels of intensive voting throughout Venezuela, with many voting centres remaining open past their scheduled 6pm closing time in order to accommodate voters queuing outside.
The victory hands the MUD a “simple majority” in the National Assembly, but this could change to a “qualified majority” depending on the outcome of the remaining 22 seats.
If the MUD goes on to win 100 seats it will be able to remove ministers from the presidential cabinet. If it manages to gain more than 111 seats, the coalition would wield enough power in the legislative body to dismiss Supreme Court Judges, reform the constitution and require a recall referendum of the national executive without having to collect the minimum quota of signatures required by the country’s constitution.
President of Venezuela and leader of the PSUV, Nicolas Maduro, moved immediately on national television to accept the results – the most debilitating defeat for the ruling Chavista government since it came to power in 1999.
“It’s not a time to cry, it’s a time to fight,” stated Maduro.
“The struggle for socialism is just beginning – we are experts in starting over, we came from the streets, we are the people of difficulties,” he added.