UPDATED WITH RESULTS
Today the CNE finally decided to clear up some of the backlog it has, electorally speaking. See, the CNE only manages in priority the elections that interest Chavez. Those that interest the natives are postponed anywhere between some day and sine die. For a variety of reasons I think that these election result are going to be pretty much worthless but since I do cover elections in Venezuela I feel compelled to write a short note.
What is at stake
Two governors, 11 mayors. All but two in the hands of chavistas and in chavista strongholds. Though two of the chavista holds are in fact PPT so it would be interesting to see what happens there in term of numbers, not in term of results as chavismo is expected to win in at least one.
The top prize is the Maracaibo seat where the only question is the opposition margin of victory.
Floods, chavismo machinery in action anyway but Chavez is not really in the ballot, an exhausted opposition with little means to fight back, the more so that most of these districts are terre de mission.
Thus even though we are dealing with roughly 10% of the electorate it is not going to be a meaningful result no matter how many seats chavismo retains. After all the city hall of Maracaibo represents about 50% of the ballots cast today! Thus the opposition will likely claim a total victory in votes while chavismo will claim a total victory in seats won. September 26 anyone?
The predictable results
All should remain in the hands of whomever is holding. The lone exceptions could be the governor seat of Amazonas which could remain in PPT hands and thus be a net loss for chavismo together with the mayor seats of Arismendi district in Margarita island and Panamericano district in Tachira though floods there, well, you know.
The only possible upsets to watch
That the opposition overall get at least 60% of the votes cast.
That the town hall of Miranda district in Carabobo state goes opposition. Coincidentally the Miranda district of Zulia could also be an upset in Zulia if the opposition manages to take over this most chavista area of Zulia....
A very good result for chavismo
The status quo, with at most the loss of Amazonas state and Arismendi district.
And retaining at least 45% of the ballots cast. That is right, chavismo can be happy if it gets 45% today.
A very good result for the opposition
In addition of retaining Maracaibo and Carrizal district in Miranda, the opposition needs the following to claim some sort of victory:
Picking up Arismendi and Panamericano in Tachira plus one of the two mentioned Miranda.
At least 60% of the votes cast.
Also getting MORE than 45% of the vote in Guarico governor seat would be psychologically important even if that seat is not won. Who knows, with the latest Chavez shows of hysteria an upset is not to be ruled out in Guarico and that would truly mark a major opposition victory. But I doubt it very, very much.
In other words, it is not a matter of giving the impression of winning that matters today, the opposition needs a big win to be registered in the political radars of chavismo.
As expected, the results will be meaningless. The opposition will have done its homework by keeping Maracaibo and picking up the two town halls that it was supposed to take, Arismendi and Panamericano. Amazonas will remain in PPT hold and thus probaly opposition but only so much for the time being.
Chavismo can be happy too, no upset did happen and it should retain an overall 45% + of the vote considering that Maracaibo opposition vote did not reach the 60% required to balance the other chavista expected victories (the more so that in Guarico chavismo seems to have won better than expected, and unaccountably as far as I am concerned, probably digging the death knoll for the PSUV since Amazonas is a tribal matter more than anything else).
Everybody can claim victory, the best election ever!!!!!