Caracas, November 25, 2008 (venezuelanalysis.com)– Candidates from the United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV) won 81% of the mayor’s offices and 77% of the governorships in Venezuela in last Sunday’s regional and local elections, Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez announced in a press conference Monday evening.
Venezuelans elected PSUV candidates for mayor in 265 out of the total 327 mayoral contests. This represents a steady increase since pro-Chávez candidates won 114 mayor’s offices in the year 2000, and 226 offices in 2004, Chávez affirmed, presenting calculations based on the results released by the National Electoral Council (CNE).
“We have retaken the path of advancement and progress,” said Chávez, asserting that this electoral victory puts the “Bolivarian Revolution” led by his administration back on track after having lost a constitutional reform referendum last year.
The president also noted that the number of votes for PSUV candidates was 5.5 million this year, which is 1.3 million more votes than the constitutional reform proposal received last year. Opposition candidates received 4.3 million votes on Sunday, about 200,000 fewer than the number of votes against the constitutional reform, he added.
In all five states where opposition candidates were elected to the governor’s offices – Carabobo, Miranda, Nueva Esparta, Táchira, and Zulia, PSUV candidates won control of the majority of the municipal governments.
In the state of Miranda, in which the national capital Caracas is located, PSUV candidates won in 15 municipalities, including Libertador, the most populated municipality, while opposition candidates won in five municipalities. “The bastion of Caracas has not been lost,” Chávez asserted.
However, in Zulia, Venezuela’s top oil producing state; Táchira, a key state on the border with Colombia; and Nueva Esparta, the Caribbean island state where the Chávez administration plans to build a new naval base, opposition candidates prevailed in the capital city as well as the state government.
Chávez said Sunday’s elections showed that Venezuelans want a “deepening of the revolution,” and that the PSUV is the most potent political force among the nearly 300 political parties that ran candidates nation-wide.
Responding to widespread speculation that he intends to propose a reform to the national constitution in order to lift term limits on the presidency, Chávez said he will not propose a reform, but that the PSUV might exercise its constitutional right to do so.
“I am not going to propose any more constitutional reform. Starting this February 2nd, I have four more years,” said Chávez. “What I cannot avoid is if other people do it.”
The president described the process by which changes to the constitution may be carried out. “It is the right of the people… they would have to collect the signatures [on a petition], bring the proposal to the National Assembly, whether it’s a reform or an amendment, and then it would have to go to referendum.”
Chávez also commented on President-Elect of the United States Barack Obama. He said he hopes Obama “dedicates himself to solving the internal problems that Bush left him,” and asked Obama to have respect for Venezuela and open a dialogue “to debate about the big issues: oil, the situation in Colombia, drug trafficking and others.”