Before I continue I do not want to imply that there will not be elections this year, that a "constitutional coup" is coming. I mean that elections can either be postponed or held but for other objectives. Though with Chavez one never knows exactly what is cooking.
To understand the hypothesis I will advance later it is important to remember a few elemental facts and observations:
- Chavez knows that the economical situation is not working in his favor. By September the consequences of devaluation, inflation and production decrease due to energy shortages will be felt in full, complicating the PSUV electoral task no matter how much oil money comes in to buy votes
- Chavismo knows very well that a loss at the National Assembly could quickly unravel the regime as finally some form of control will appear and the turpitude prevalent in the day to day routine would be fully exposed
- In addition a National Assembly not under chavismo control will not allow Chavez to use state money as he pleases
- Finally such an hypothetical assembly would start taking away the control of the judicial system from the executive hands, the last step to remove Chavez from power if the above does not work
Fortunately for Chavez an historical landmark is just around the corner: the bicentennial of April 19 1810 when Venezuela started its road to independence. What better opportunity for a demagogic call for a referendum on a constitutional assembly or some constitutional reform that could weaken the power of the incoming National Assembly? After all, the High Court has opened that way by suggesting that strict separation of powers is not a good thing!
True, he could lose such a referendum but there is a major difference: in September Chavez will not be perceived as being himself in the ballot, no matter how hard he tries to convince us that the new National Assembly first task is to end the revolution. However in a referendum Chavez is on the ballot himself and his personal emotional ties with a large sector of the country could work out and postpone the collapse of his regime, considering that the opposition seems to be woefully unprepared for any maneuver outside of the September vote (for which it already seems to have lots of problems! Imagine if they had to decide on a Constitutional Assembly strategy!).
There! Take your pick or come up with another plan but pray that the political opposition has a think tank group working on the hypothesis above, and more.
PS: yes, I will make further electoral analysis and predictions, but not yet as I think predicting more than what I have already done is useless until we know the candidates in critical circumscriptions.