The Venezuelan opposition won overwhelmingly Sunday; 112 seats out of 167 -- two thirds of the National Assembly, and this happened for the first time since Hugo Chavez became president of Venezuela in February 1999.
Following the result, some are beginning to speak of the end of the Chavez era. Is that so? What changes can boost the opposition parliamentary victory? Certainly not the end of the "Bolivarian revolution," as it is known -- there are several reasons:
- The Transformation of the country for the past 16 years has been too deep for it to be undone in the short term.
- Nicolás Maduro is still president of Venezuela, and the Venezuelan political system still defined as presidential: the President acts somewhat independently of the Assembly and has a decisive influence in decision making. Many believe that Chavez discontent vote was decisive for the victory of the opposition.
- In the structure of powers, the executive (the president and ministers), the legislature (the National Assembly) and the judiciary (represented by the Supreme Court) must work in concert to producer changes. Decisions of the Assembly can be effectively blocked by the other two branches. Nor does it mean the end of "chavismo". According to various surveys, an important part of Venezuelans still defined as "chavistas".
- What it is clear is that the victory produced a change in the balance of power. Over the past 16 years, the ruling party has ruled virtually without restriction. Now the PSUV can no longer continue underestimating the oposition, which won power in real terms. Simply block all initiatives that it may have in Parliament could mean more damage to his popularity, and hit.
And Nicolás Maduro still has some cards up his sleeve; in fact already called for the resignation of all his ministers, and remaining three weeks of the current ruling Congress and its board, which could approve special powers to the President to block actions of the new opposition directive, already announced measures such as the adoption of a amnesty for political prisoners.
With the vote, the message seems clear is that people want change. And that will change, that's clear. Only see the list of Socialist deputies undermined where names do not appear "comrades" who did much damage to both, opponents and "chavistas", from his position: it is the best advertisement for the changes ahead.