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Venezuela's Election Results Show Weakened Chavismo

The results of the presidential election held on Sunday April 14, 2013 made it clear that Chavismo is starting to wear down.

In just two months the interim president, and now president elect, Nicolás Maduro Moros, lost 685,794 votes compared to the figures obtained by the late President Chávez on October 7, 2012 (7-O), while the opposition candidate Henrique Capriles Radonsky managed to capture about 679,099 votes compared to 7-O.

These figures mean that Maduro inherited an 11-point advantage, but won by less than 2 points.

The first bulletin released by the Election National Council (CNE, according to its name in Spanish) declared Nicolás Maduro the winner with a total of 7,505,338 votes, representing 50.66% of the votes. On the other hand, Henrique Capriles Radonski got 7,270,403 of the votes, representing 49.07% of the electorate–a difference of barely 1.59%, or 234,935 voters, a result not even the surveys [es] were able to anticipate.

Twitter user Jogreg Henridonsky (@Jogreg) [es] prefers to see the results like this.

@Jogreg: Una manera de ver lo que pasó ayer… pic.twitter.com/7wqiAvIx8C

@Jogreg: A way to see what happened yesterday… pic.twitter.com/7wqiAvIx8C

Imagen compartida por @Jogreg

Image shared by @Jogreg

Meanwhile, the coalition [es] of the Unity Board (MUD, according to its name in Spanish) got 7.270.403 votes, compared to the 6.127.522 votes obtained by the coalition of the Socialist United Party of Venezuela (PSUV, according to its name in Spanish) votes. With these numbers, PSUV lost its status as the most voted party for the first time. For the October 7 elections, the MUD coalition didn't participate as a coalition, but each party supported Capriles separately. This time, the opposition could only vote for the MUD coalition, thus getting more votes than PSUV.

This small difference of just two percentage units and the huge number of diverse complaints about irregularities (about 3.200 incidents) along the way led the Governor of the state of Miranda, Henrique Capriles Radonsky, to not recognize the results [es] until an audit as well as a manual vote recount are carried out. This same request [es] came from Vicente Díaz, one of five CNE directors, after the release of the first bulletin. Later on Sunday, Nicolás Maduro accepted the audit.

With such controversy, citizens started to debate on social networks and to reflect on their blogs.

Jorge Media Azcarate wrote a blog post [es] entitled “Congratulations to the new president of the people's democracy in Venezuela” [es], where he disagrees with Capriles for not recognizing the results. According to Jorge, Capriles shouldn't have run if mistrusted the system.

Quisiera especialmente denunciar el no-reconocimiento del perdedor Capriles frente a los resultados de la convocatoria. No sólo me parece miserable presentarse a unos comicios para luego no someterse a sus resultados (..si tienes desconfianzas no te presentes sinvergüenza!. Y si te presentas, acepta las reglas del juego), sino que incluso me parece un grave INSULTO a los 140 observadores internacionales que estaban supervisando la legalidad de la convocatoria. ..Qué pasa, ¿que ahora estos observadores son unos incompetentes que no ha hecho bien su trabajo??. ¿Antes sí valían, pero ahora no?

I'd especially want to denounce the non-recognition of the election results by the losing [candidate] Capriles. To me, it's not only miserable to run for office and then don't accept the results (…if you mistrust the system, don't run, scoundrel! And if you run, accept the rules of the game), but I also consider it a serious INSULT to all the 140 international observers that were monitoring the legality of the election… What's going on? Are these now incompetent observers who haven't carried out a good job?? They were valid before, but now they aren't anymore?

11 de abril en el centro de Caracas durante el cierre de campaña de Nicolás Maduro. Foto de Luis Carlos Díaz bajo licencia Creative Commons  (CC BY-NC 2.0)

April 11, downtown Caracas, during Nicolás Maduro campaign closing. Photo by Luis Carlos Díaz, under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC 2.0).

Meanwhile in her blog [es], Sofia Kariakin [es] argues that with this new president Venezuela will lack strategies and objectives, and that this will worsen the situation in the country. She shared her reflections on her post “Pause for resignation” [es].

Pues respiro profundo por los míos, que siguen creyendo que en algún momento Venezuela tendrá la oportunidad de salir de este abismo en el que se encuentra, antes con un tipo que realmente era un Líder. Ahora entiendo a los más desfavorecidos que decían, cuando murió, que se sentían como huérfanos porque es lo que serán… ahora no hay una estrategias, no hay un fin… ahora es un rollo sin fondo, ni sentido, ahora si se hundirá el país, y ustedes me dirán: ¿más?, pues si… lamentablemente si se acepta esta burla serán el completo destrozo y deterior de Venezuela.

Well, I take a deep breath for my people, who still believe that somewhere in time Venezuela will have the chance to get out of its current abyss, in the past with a guy who was really a Leader. Now I understand those less fortunate who said, when he [Chávez] passed away, that they felt like orphans for that's what they are going to be… now there are no strategies, no purpose… now it's all an endless, senseless matter, and now the country will sink, and you will ask me: even more? Well, yes… unfortunately if this mockery is accepted, it will mean complete destruction and decay for Venezuela.

Thousands of claims have been circulating on social networks. In many cases, citizens have echoed some false episodes started online which have spread like wildfire.

The finding of boxes filled with votes [es] and voting slips on the streets of the state of Barinas, however, stirred voters’ moods even more.

Foto difunfida ampliamente en las redes sociales

Image widely shared on social networks

Furthermore, the proclamation of Nicolás Maduro as president [es] by CNE, without the audit process, increased the dissatisfaction within the opposition. Willy Mckey (@willymckey) [es] claimed on Twitter that this rush in the proclamation is suspicious.

@willymckey: Ese apuro en la proclamación los pone en evidencia. #AuditoriaYA

@willymckey: This rush for proclaiming [Maduro president] shows them up. #AuditoriaYA [audit NOW]

But Oliver Reina (@oliv22) [es] said on Twitter that as long as the audit doesn't say otherwise, there are no reasons not to support Nicolás Maduro.

@oliv22: Apoyar a Maduro no es ilegítimo: hay un boletín oficial del CNE. Si la auditoría dice otra cosa quedaría sin efecto. Sino, no. Así de fácil.

@oliv22: Supporting Maduro isn't illegitimate: there is an official bulletin by CNE. If the audit says otherwise, it will be invalid. If not, it won't. Just like that.

This very close margin in the results has unleashed a political crisis in the country that could result in violent acts.

SIC magazine, in its blog [es], explains what happens in these two very different countries.

No va a resultar fácil al Presidente asumir que una gran parte de los ciudadanos no quieren despertar de ese sueño libertario o de esa pesadilla. No va a resultar fácil gobernar cuando una parte considerable de la ciudadanía no quiere que le hablen del país concreto sino de la historia que se esculpe en bronce y mármol como señuelo vano de eternidad y otra, bastante considerable, solo sueña con que se acabe lo que considera nefasto y se pueda volver al estado anterior idealizado.

For the President, it won't be easy to assume that a huge sector of citizens don't want to be waken up from this libertarian dream, or this nightmare. It won't be easy to rule when a considerable part of the citizenry doesn't want to hear about the concrete country but rather about history carved in bronze and marble as a false bait for eternity, and [when] another considerable [part of the citizenry] only dreams about the end of what they consider disastrous and about going back to the idealized past.

This post was co-authored by Laura Vidal

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