Thursday, July 17, 2008

The Venezuelan 2008 election: update 2

Although the sorting out of candidatures for the opposition is far from complete, there is enough new to justify a second update. I must admit that inasmuch as the constant delays is worrying, we must still take comfort that progress is made. Now it remains to be seen if the campaigns will be conducted in such a way as to mobilize the opposition base, real and potential, to compensate the nasty haggling that all know took place behind closed doors.

Chavismo pains

Not much to say there. The fake primaries held are still creating waves of discontent among minor allies who might not account for much but who could provoke by their defection or dissidence the loss of more states and town halls than predicted. Now it seems that even the "morochas" strategy to win a large majority of legislative seats with a minority of votes is in jeopardy as all threaten to go their own way.

And to help things along, discarded Acosta Carles, the sitting burping Carabobo Governor has decided to run anyway, all but ensuring that chavismo loses there....

The opposition gives birth to 7 unique candidates (well, maybe)

After months and months of "polls" and "haggling" (newly fashionable word, in economy and politics) the opposition announced its first 7 unique governor candidates (no word on town hall unity candidates yet!). Meager result but a result nevertheless. Let see the state by state situation.

Zulia. It looked to me to be a sure thing but it is not so anymore. I suspect that the reason has been the desire of Rosales, as a good caudillo himself, to transform Zulia into his very own consolidated bastion to allow for a new presidential round in 4 years (he needs the state treasure to run a campaign!). Thus we had Bijani throw his hat into the ring anyway, once Rosales edged him out. To make things more difficult the unity candidate, Pablo Perez, does not seem to carry much personality of his own and form afar the Chavez one, Di Martino, does not look too bad in comparison. I must downgrade Zulia from sure thing to only tending opposition.

Vargas. Roberto Smith comes back from the political grave. Considering the lousy pro Chavez running against him, Vargas becomes a possible pick for the opposition.

Carabobo. Ex governor, Henrique Salas Feo, and a decent one at that, is the consensus candidate. Mario Silva not only is a divisive and repugnant figure, but the start of Acosta Carles bid all but ensures that Salas Feo will repeat.

Nueva Esparta. No surprise there, AD sitting governor gets the nod is is almost certain to repeat although there are rumors that Russian will "inhabilitar" him....

Sucre. An interesting development there. Very chavista state through PODEMOS, Sucre would be up for grabs depending on what PODEMOS could do and how it could convince its share of voters to move away from Chavez. In a surprising move PODEMOS supports an ex-AD governor, running now as an independent. Might be a smart move because it allows for the opposition to rally behind him, and does not pose much of a name recognition problem. I am not ready to do it but Sucre could join soon my list of states tending for the opposition. But the problem is how many chavista votes will sitting governor Martinez be able to take away from Chavez since he cannot be on the ballot.

Trujillo and Apure. I do not know enough to have an opinion there. But the historical trend makes it difficult to win for the opposition. Perhaps why this one had no problem there filing a sure loser....

-The end-

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