Caracas, January 5th, 2016. (venezuelanalysis.com) – On Sunday, two days before the Venezuelan parliament was due to be sworn in, the opposition held elections to choose the next president of the National Assembly, which will see a significant power shift today after the opposition takes nearly two-thirds of the house seats.
Leaders of the opposition party alliance Democratic Unity Roundtable (MUD) came together in a five-star hotel in Eastern Caracas to elect Henry Ramos Allup, a veteran of right-wing Venezuelan politics, as their parliamentary leader. The post was previously held by Diosdado Cabello.
The vote, conducted by secret ballot, was preemptive, as Venezuelan law requires the National Assembly choose their representative as a whole through an open poll on the first day of the new session.
Allup’s only opponent was Julio Borges of the party Justice First (PJ). The 72-year old received 62 votes to Borges’ 49.
The future Assembly president currently leads the Democratic Action (AD) party, of which he has been a member for nearly four decades. A key figure during the neoliberal era known as the Fourth Republic, Allup defended the policies of Carlos Andres Perez as a member of congress; policies which created the vastly unequal society which led to the Caracazo riots of 1989, during which thousands of Venezuelan poor were shot by police and disappeared.
In the aftermath of the 1992 coup attempt by the young lieutenant Hugo Chavez, which failed to remove Andres Perez from power, Allup was among those politicians to publicly announce the suspension of constitutional guarantees.
According to tweets by opposition figure Freddy Guevara, the presidency will be rotative and a different party will be represented each year. “Congratulations @hramosallup who will be the first president of the National Assembly for the Unity. @JulioBorges will be the 2nd. UNT [A New Time] the 3rd and VP [Popular Will] 4th,” Guevara wrote on Sunday evening.