Monday, December 09, 2013

The 2013 mayoral election results (1): general considerations

For many reasons this blog did not cover in depth the campaign for this municipal elections, which for simplicity in the title of this series I will call "mayoral" even though there is a need to look into some interesting local councilor results.  However, analyzing the results can be done with more leisure, relying in part on past knowledge. Before starting with the details, a brief and general evaluation, starting with my own "predictions".

I did not do predictions, I limited myself to write that logic would have required in a normal country an advantage of half a million vote for the opposition, that maybe a plebiscitary quality to the vote would bring totals to 6 million for each side. I also stated that the cheating factor of the regime is about 5% which could disguise a half million vote opposition advantage.  I cannot say how close to reality this is since the CNE announcement was confusing and we need to look in depth at the "other" candidates results to figure the real separation between opposition and regime.  Thus on this respect I cannot evaluate myself yet.

Where I am happier is with my "board game" as a reader called my evaluation tool of the result.  I said that I was expecting 30 points and so far I did get 29, pending a couple of unclear results that may cancel each other anyway.  I suppose that I should have posted it earlier to allow people to play along, sorry.  According to my own evaluation chart 29 falls in the "good score, Maduro questioned", but in the lower range, very close to "small progress".  And this is exactly what we can say at this point about yesterday.

The regime has managed to hold back the push of the opposition, at a heavy price, but it did register some significant losses, and some very symbolic ones. It is impossible for the regime to find excuses for the losses of Barquisimeto and Barinas, two places which for political tradition or dynastic ones, for that matter, should be strongholds of chavismo.

In a way both sides can claim some form of success but the one that has lost ground is Maduro. For him to ensure that chavismo did not suffer further losses meant that he has wrecked the commercial sector of Venezuela and thus most certainly made the economic crisis worse for next year.  He is the one that will pay the political cost.  What did he gained by driving into  bankruptcy who knows how many stores, and into unemployment who knows how many hard workers?  From a quick view of results finally available on the CNE pages this only helped him to retain Caracas Libertador and weaken the bid of Ledezma for mayor at large, which he won anyway.  2%? 4% nationally?  Too bad the opposition cannot afford good exit polls.

To measure that the regime result is rather paltry we must remind the reader that the opposition had to make its campaign under the following conditions:

  • Lack of funding while the regime plastered the streets of Caracas with perhaps more posters than actual votes gained by Villegas. 
  • Lack of access to media. The opposition message was for all purposes shut down from TV, and limited on the radio, while the state TV system was a mere 24/7 propaganda machinery serving chavista candidates. Even the New York Times chimed in strongly: "Government-operated television stations continually promoted Socialist candidates and vilified the opposition."
  • Political prosecution was a favorite tool for the regime, disabling many a candidate and creating a self censorship inside the press that did not want to get into trouble.
  • The constant direct and grievous insults from Maduro to anyone inside the opposition, as well as those coming from his principal associates contributed to create an atmosphere of fear, fear of becoming part of the political apartheid that is the true foundation of this regime since the Tascon List was set in 2003.  How many public employees and Mision participant simply voted for the regime out of fear?
  • Plus many other "details" from gerrymandering to an accomplice silence of the CNE, when not helping actively the regime,  without forgetting the use of ambulances to post posters for a chavista candidate....
If we consider all of that, the opposition got a respectable score, which would have been even better if some mistakes had not been made, but that is for other entries.

Thus as a general evaluation we can say only that the opposition improved its positions but that it is still weak, that the lack of a strong message is blocking it from making further progress in front of a regime of clearly fascist tendency which will use any possible trickery to stay in place.

Now we must wait to see how the economic crisis play and how weakened internally will Maduro be. At least he escaped the plebiscite effect against him, but he certainly got zero approval.  To pat myself in the back, I realize that I did write the conclusion of this election before the election was held...... not that it is of much comfort considering what awaits us.


  1. kernel_panic4:50 PM

    Now comes another interesting event, as pointed out at CCSCHRON now a MUD cycle is closed, because all of the candidates that were picked up for president, governors and mayors have been played, we have to analyze the outcome of that cycle and prepare for the next one, not electorally, heck, the next elections are in 2015, but regarding to the MUDs leadership and most importantly, strategy.

  2. kernel_panic4:52 PM

    Whaddayaknow, Quico and I are almost on the same page, he tweeted this:

    Caracas Chronicles ‏@CaracasChron 53min

    Un liderazgo opositor que solo sabe hacer política en un marco electoral ahora se enfrenta a 18-24 meses sin elecciones. A ver q hacen

    1. errrh...

      Not to be a sour puss but

      "Today's vote relevance must thus be seen in that context. If the opposition fails to make inroads the regime will have a brief respite, made more or less long depending on how the opposition deals internally with its defeat. But we can be sure of one thing: Capriles days and the rumored ascendancy of Primero Justicia may be over. Lopez and Machado will feel justified in calling a "qui t'a fait roi?". After all, the Aveledo-Capriles approach will have been exhausted after two years. It will take the opposition at least a couple of years to learn to juggle repression and leadership renewal."

      It is not because I do not make a living out of journalism since I need time to struggle and keep my business afloat that I am not blessed with some insight too.... Maybe if I spent a few hours a day on tweeter and managed a few thousands followers I could be quoted more often but that was never the reason for me to write a blog. Catharsis has always been motivation enough.

    2. kernel_panic7:31 PM

      Daniel, I think you understood something that I didn't meant, I am aware of your comment on that past post, adding the cycle part which I saw over at CC, I thought that it wasn't necesarry to quote your comment as I am writing on your blog and you know what you write.

      I think I speak for all of us who read you regularly that you analysis on how things are unfolding are accurate, that your comments are of high value, that you are able to put the dedo en la llaga (sometimes in spanish ;) )and that you speak your mind. That, among other things, and it's just a part of what we appreciate in your site as well as in your person.

      When I said what I said, I wanted to know your take on the "were we're going from here now", because you hinted it on that comment, but you haven't yet explained on detail. What I was your thoughts on stuff like or

      Please, accept my apologies if you felt ignored or undervalued because of my comment, not only that's not ture, but the complete opposite.

      Sincerely, KP.

    3. Sorry too, I should have realized that you were writing in the heat of the moment.

      The thing is that I am not in search of the head lines and I like to muddle my way through numbers at a rational pace. I think that any criticism, say, to Capriles, can only be written once you have sat down and reflected on the numbers. It is one thing that I reproach to Quico, he shoots from the hip and on occasion says the stupidest things. When people press me for my opinion I do not respond well :)

    4. kernel_panic10:20 PM


      Yes, I agree that sometimes quico is way too hot headed, but he's not mean-mean

      What I think is since there will be no elections for a LONG time, we might as well ditch a populist strategy (which didn't pay off anyways) and embrace a truth-in-your-face strategy, because what else do we have to lose?

      We have to be honest, yes, sugarcoating is needed, but in the end the truth must be told in a way that from Yeibiris Yubiricxaida to Lord Pompous understand that a change is needed.

      As you, I liked better MCM than HCR (Arria too, but as part of the government, not as president) because I feel that she fits better with that kind of strategy, while HCR demonstrated that hes still under the influence of the populist mindset (less than the government, but still)

      Regardless of what the results of 8D turned out to be, there is a need to evaluate the performance of this MUD leadership cycle, because with this elections that cycle ended. Period.

      What we need to be clear on is what performance metrics are to be used and what to do with the results of this evaluation.

      We must do this ASAP as to not stay idle until 6 months before the next election, because if HCR hadnt returned to mirandas governor house and stayed campaigning as the leader of the MUD, the MUD would have done much much better on 16D vote, he would have had more strength for the 14A vote and certainly on the 8D vote.

      I have come to the conclusion that, even though that nobody knew how things turned out to be, if HCR was a better LEADER and had more integrity, he would have chosen to rally the opposition under his leadership instead of running to cover his barebutt, with the consequences it had on the next elections. He traded long term for short term, and that's a no-no. Why do I say integrity? Because when he won the primary and had to assume the role of presidentiable, he had to resign to any ambition other than that, politically speaking, when he lost against chavez and ran for cover in miranda, displacing a primary elected candidate in the process, he demonstrated weakness not proper of a true leader.

      Yes, maybe if he hadnt had run for miranda burro con sueño seria gobernador, but then again, if he kept rallying the opposition instead of the collective booh-boohs it did, the oppo might have won some important state offices. On that election what sank us was the enormous oppo voter abstention.

      The MUD did a good job, heck, the primary was a complete success and they handled the whole thing (plus the quema de libros) masterfully, but now we have to check all the facts and events and conclude if indeed they did the best job possible and what comes next after this.

      Im waiting for your thoughts on the subject

  3. kernel - I believe the next step is actually quite simple. Those mayors elected have to actually work, close to the people, show that all the blah-blah was true, get closer to those that elected them and attempt to get close to those that didn't. Bring the democracia participativa to the base. Showing actual work will dethrone the red illusion that people have been living of.

  4. Anonymous6:03 PM

    The results are 49.2% for the PSUV and dissident chavistas and 42,7% for the MUD and dissident opposition (70% of the votes are in). At least that these are the reports.

    What did the opposition win.

    1. A small number of municipalities. It had less than 50. Now it has 53 and will probably get some more since there is a number of municipalities that have not been called yet.

    2. It lost the popular vote by a smaller margin than it had in the previous municipal election and showed signs of improvement.

    3. It won in Barinas and Barquisimento. True story, the power of Chavez in Barinas was always outside the city and the opposition always did ok (in comparison to its national results) in the capital and thus no great erosion of chavismo strength took place. However, symbolism is always important.

    What did the opposition lose.

    1. The elections. Plain and simple. This was a defeat for MUD. It captured less than a third of municipalities, less state capitals than PSUV and also lost the national vote by a healthy margin. True, hopes of victory were optimistic in the first place but still, a defeat is a defeat.

    2. The whole plebiscite business. This was a total failure. For starters, the results prove that it failed to mobilize the opposition voters. Furthermore, now Maduro is already saying << Yeah. It was a plebiscite and I WON! Stop complaining. >>.

    3. A rare opportunity to score a real victory. The situation is crappy, the reaction of the government has been shaky and Capriles has proven to be a credible figurehead. However, when all was said and done, the PSUV won again. One cannot help but think << If not now, when is the opposition going to win? >>. While it is true that if the situation gets even worse the opposition might have a real shot, it is undeniable that the opposition has proven again and again that it snaps defeat from the jaws of victory.

    4. Capriles. I don't know. The whole plebiscite idea was his and it did not work. He had also set the bar quite high and the results did not quite add up. However, what was perhaps even more damaging was his reaction to the results. On the one hand he played the << The country is divided, let's cooperate >> card and on the other, he seemed to be quite devastated. Let's face it. PSUV has no reason or intention to cooperate with the opposition. Perhaps it was an attempt to reach out to voters that still cling to the notion of << Why don't we all just get along and work together for the country >>. Iam getting the feeling though that there just aren't too many people of that mentality out there. Not after at least 13 years of polarization. And do you know what is even more damaging that that? The fact that many people will think exactly like me and demand the removal of Capriles.

    1. Nice analysis too bad is anonymous. I agree with many of you conclusions. Couple of questions though:

      "the opposition has proven again and again that it snaps defeat from the jaws of victory"
      What other instances apart from this election are you referring to.?

      "demand the removal of Capriles"

      Removal from what? De facto leadership of the opposition? How is someone removed from that?
      Politics is competition, he wasn't put there by a finger. If someone else wants to be the leader of the opposition they should just go ahead and try, no need to ask for permission.
      New leader: Excuse is my turn, could you step aside please?
      Capriles: Oh sorry, is my time over? I'll just sit quietly over here.

  5. If Capriles promoted the idea of these elections being a plebiscite, the implication was that the opposition could win in spite of government fraud, or at least that if the government stole the election the opposition would present proof of this.If the only reaction of the opposition to the election results is one of resignation,then the time has definitely arrived for Capriles to step aside and permit someone of a different philosophy to lead it.



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