HAVANA TIMES — Venezuela’s National Electoral Council (CNE) confirmed on Wednesday that the opposition secured the last two disputed seats following Sunday’s legislative elections, reaching an absolute majority of two thirds, or 112 of the National Assembly’s 167 seats, DPA reported.
On its webpage, the CNE announced that the opposition secured 109 seats nationwide. With the three indigenous representatives, a total of 112 seats was reached.
The opposition’s Democratic Unity Roundtable (MUD) stated that the CNE’s delay in publishing the results of Sunday’s elections was “unacceptable.”
The regional board of the state of Aragua had already acknowledged the opposition’s victory in district three, the last to be assigned, where opposition activist Karin Salanova defeated the governmet’s rival with a mere 82-vote margin.
“Results for district three (Aragua): MUD, Karina Salnova, 69,140 votes (48.52 percent) and (PSUV) Rosa Leon 69,058 votes (48.52 percent),” the chair of the Aragua Regional Electoral Bureau Neira Lopez announced.
The delay in presenting the results of the elections made the CNE the target of harsh criticisms by the opposition, which regarded it as example of how unreliable the electoral system is, despite using cutting-edge voting technology.
“This is inadmissible. They speak of the best electoral system in the world, the most automated system and, two days later, we still don’t have the official results,” former representative and opposition leader Maria Corina Machado charged.
Salanova’s seat afforded the MUD a total 112 representatives, giving the alliance two thirds of the chamber. Before, the other disputed seat, representing the Amazons region, had also been secured by the opposition.
In its second bulletin, the CNE announced that the MUD had secured 107 seats, that two seats were still in dispute and that the PSUV had obtained 55 seats.
“To the 107 seats acknowledged by the CNE must be added the three indigenous representatives and the two unassigned seats, which the opposition secured,” MUD executive secretary Jesus Torrealba said during a press conference.
He pointed out that, with these results, Venezuela can expect a process of positive changes and the “reconstruction of the country.”
The opposition spokesman condemned Maduro’s interpretation of the government’s electoral defeat, when he affirmed that the elections had been won thanks to the “economic war”, chalked up to business owners and hoarders.
“If they continue to espouse this thesis, they could develop inconvenient public policies. On December 6, Venezuela won. The people are calling for radical changes to public policies. The economic war is a publicity stunt that no one bought and to continue to insist on it is to continue to evade a reality that is demanding immediate answers,” he stated.
These results afford the opposition a series of faculties that will make the legislature a counterweight to the executive, something unprecedented these past 17 years.
A three-fifths majority (101 seats) gave the opposition the power to appoint the parliamentary chairs, remove Attorney General Luisa Ortega Diaz (who is frequently accused of being subordinate to party interests) and begin a constitutional amendment process.
Now, with 112 seats, a two-thirds majority, the MUD will able able to replace all of the heads of the different State powers, approve a constitutional reform process (a process more wide-encompassing than a mere amendment) and even call a referendum.
The opposition had a sweeping victory in several regions, worsening the government’s electoral debacle, which had hitherto maintained a majority at the National Assembly.
In Hugo Chavez’ native region, the opposition won four out of the five seats contended for, while, in Caracas, it secured 8 out of the existing 9.
Congress representative elect Henry Ramos warned that Chavismo was preparing to set up an “emergency” committee to replace 13 Supreme Court judges who had retired in advance this year.
“They are holding an emergency voting process so that parliamentary members who were displaced (lost the elections), such as Elvis Amoroso, can became Supreme Court judges,” said Ramos, who called this maneuver by the government “desperate.”
The Supreme Court is made up of 32 judges, such that, if the opposition majority appointed the 13 new judges at the next legislative assembly, it could alter the balance of power in the judiciary.
Analysts warned that these maneuvers, in addition to the warnings exchanged by the opposition and Chavismo, could be the prelude to conflicts in power that would intensify in the course of next year.
Maduro chalked up his defeat to the “economic war” against the people, which he claims was impelled by hoarders that hid consumer products from the population.
In addition, he affirmed that the “counterrevolution” had triumphed and that it will attempt the “reestablishment of neoliberalism” in the country.