Saturday, April 24, 2010

Hot predictions for the September election!

So, finally, the opposition MUD gave its official nominations.  There are good stuff such as Jose Molina running for circuit 5 in Caracas and bad stuff such as the always defeated William Davila in Merida lone safe seat.  But I will wait for the results of the primary elections tomorrow, and the PSUV ones, before I start the long and arduous work of judging as many races as possible (I cannot deal with the 160 races but I will try to have a reasonable opinion on half of them, though it will take weeks).  Still, today, for fun, I did a first evaluation of the next National Assembly composition.  How I came to this is written below the graph, and note, I was rather optimistic.  Also, the total of seats is not exact as, e.g. I did not included the Native seats.  Enjoy.

I went district by district guessing on memory and recent developments who had the best chance to win at this point.  The legend sorts of speak for itself as to how I distributed the final count.  Some precisions

"other" refers to the sum of the political parties that will not get at least 4 seats at this point. These 18 seats include LCR, Independents, etc...
"undefined" are those from tomorrow primaries that the opposition should win in September, but we need to wait for these results until we can add them up to the individual party total
"undecided" are those seats that are too close to call.  Although many lean to chavismo, I included in this lot those seats where the Falcon effect could play tricks with chavismo, robbing it of up to half a dozen seats or so.  In other words, those 31 districts are the real battleground seats.

Preliminary observations

Right now we seem to have a slight advantage: chavismo 60 sure and the opposition 69.  Again, I am in an unfounded optimistic mood tonight, and the 31 missing are going in majority to chavismo (gerrymandering helping) and Falcon/PPT.  At this point I see it difficult that the opposition will get 15 of these 31 seats.  But September is still almost 5 months away.

The next assembly will be a mosaic of parties in front of a monolithic and likely radicalized chavismo.  Whether this one gets a majority or not, its cohesion will play havoc with the already rough managing of most parliaments.  To overcome this handicap it would be good for the opposition to get 20 of these 31 battle ground seats.

Primero Justicia seems to get the short end compared to AD and UNT.  In my opinion PJ got more difficult seats than these two.  AD benefits from several "list vote" safe sets, often the only seats that the opposition can win in those rural states.  And UNT gets a boost from Zulia who I think will punish Chavez seriously this time around. In other words, the better the polls for the opposition the better off will be PJ who could more than double its seats, a probability denied to the other guys.


  1. Too many opposition parties?

    Or would unifying them too much make them too tempting a target for the secret police?

  2. Anonymous11:26 PM

    I look at the 31% and think there is only one thing impossible.
    Taking your pants off - over your head.
    I don't believe (g)god has the upper hand always.

  3. UCC

    Venezuela has a multiparty political tradition. Between 1958 and today only three assemblies had a party with an absolute majority by itself, 1958, 1993 and 2005, if memory serves me well. Coalitions were necessary for all the other assemblies, never mind that the 1958 one lost an absolute majority soon enough.

    Chavez of course does not like that, preferring a neat division between himself and the imperialists lackeys on the other side. through polarization of the political speech and changing the electoral law he tries to get that, with him on top of course.

  4. anonymous

    it is not 31%, it is 31 seats.

  5. Daniel,

    I think you were a bit optimistic indeed.

    I think UCC has a very very very very very (I mean very) important point and I think most people living in Venezuela are not seeing it at all.
    This has no comparison in any country I know of, unless it is Somalia or Afghanistan.

    Daniel showed the parties with likelihood to get a seat.
    That is correct. What is not shown there (it is not possible) is what we have nationwide: a legion of parties, not 10, not 20, not 30, not 40 but even more.

    And whether we have now some (Venezuelan) "unity" thingie or not, the very existence of all those "parties", which are nothing more than a platform for some microcaudillo, is very damaging.
    Just imagine this: what does it take to have some sort of secretary and a telephone? Imagine even 1/4 of those parties wanting to be more than just a mobile phone number and a guy.
    How inefficient can it get?
    You don't believe me?
    Daniel, I link here to a couple of graphs I have shown elsewhere.

    1) results for 2008 elections in Libertador of Carabobo (almost 100 thousand voters, I think):

    Now a commune in Norway with the same amount of voters:

    Now: the sad thing is that this is not Third World Country versus Norway. It so happens that Chile, Brazil and COLOMBIA of all places are much closer to Norway when it comes to the amount of parties.

    Same state, Valencia, lost "thanks" to caudillo Salas clan:

    Same state, San Diego, with a good mayor who can't stand Salas:

    And it gets worse for less central states. I did some analysis of Monagas. PJ got like 0.95% of the vote there and about 5 "united fronts" did better.

    Now we are not going "all parties for all, but with some lists and yet reality is still there: we have a million groups who are able to work together only for the least they can to see what they get out of it.

    Venezuelan parties are mostly empty shells with no ideology and what is worse: no plan for the country. If you don't have these things, even if they are for yourself, you don't have a target, you don't have power to motivate your own people, much less others.

    Most of these parties should just disappear. At the very least, most Venezuelans should realise they need to take a decision and really go massively for 3, 4 parties at most. That is enough to represent the different main ideologies.

  6. Maybe there should be some type of floor to get on the ballot nationally? Like 100,000 registered voter signatures or something to get a party on the ballot.

  7. Then again it is much easier to attack and demonize a few opposition parties than dozens.

    (feel free to tack this onto the last post)

  8. I am sorry for the URLs, I thought the system would transform them into the proper links.

    I don't see how this can work, really. We are not talking about guerrilla tactics where people or units have to spread. We are talking about organizations. Something like this is highly innefficient even in the best case scenario, even in a developed nation.

    Just the sheer logistic thing: you need to spread the message, you need people to do it and you need some message, you need someone who gets things printed, distribute flyers, etc.


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