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Venezuela's opposition win a majority of the vote but are a minority in the AN

Reuters/ Gil Montano

Opposition leaders, members of MUD (United Movement for Democracy) celebrate after listening to electoral results in Caracas September 27, 2010.

CARACAS, Sep 27, 2010

Venezuelan opposition claim it took 52% of the popular vote, but it did not win a majority in the National Assembly elections on Sunday, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez party PSUV won the majority of the seats in Congress, due to controversial recent changes in voting districts.

Benefiting from discontent at a deep recession, soaring violent crime and electricity shortages in South America's top oil exporter, Democratic Unity took 62 seats, with almost all the votes counted. A Reuters source at the electoral council backed Ramon Guillermo Aveledo a principal opposition leader claim that his Democratic Unity alliance won 52 percent of the popular vote.

Chavez won a majority in parliament but opponents surpassed expectations to take over a third of seats, limiting his power and boosting their bid to stop his re-election in 2012, said independent analysts.

"We are the majority!" sang the opposition after the results were announced in early hours of Monday.

The fact is that the opposition did not win a majority in the National Assembly, but opposition united in a Democratic Unity Group won more votes.

It is a blow to Chavez after 12th years in command.

The PSUV, Chavez's party won at least 94 of the 165 seats in the National Assembly, and the opposition had at least 62, officials said in reporting initial results from a gripping overnight count, reported AFP.

"We have to keep strengthening the (socialist) Revolution!! A new victory for the people. I congratulate everyone," Chavez wrote in his Twitter account, AFP reported.

The results will be a blow to an assembly that Chavez has dominated for the past five years, with the opposition returning en masse after boycotting the last vote in 2005.

"It's been demonstrated that the country has an alternative, formed thanks to the convergence of very different people," said Ramon Guillermo Aveledo, spokesman for an opposition coalition that overcame differences to take on Chavez, news agencies reported.

"No one had a full majority, which will force us to negotiate," said Pablo Perez, opposition governor from Zulia state.

The electoral council did not release full vote numbers yet but according to the oppositionist candidates had won 52 percent, although it failed to get a majority of seats due to the past months changes in the voting representations.

Such a result would be a blow for Chavez, two years before presidential elections as he seeks a third six-year term.

The turn out was good, 66 percent of some 17 million voters turned out in the National Assembly vote.

Chavez needed to win 110 seats to maintain the absolute majority required to maintain the present decree powers, approve the national budget and pass other laws without negotiating with the opposition.

In more than a decade of rule, the firebrand leftist leader has nationalized public utilities, key industries and media, as well as launched health clinics and subsidized food programs for the poor. He has also increased pressure on opposition groups and dissidents, AFP reported.

The opposition focused its campaign, on extreme issues like Venezuela's murder rate, one of the highest in the world, and record inflation.

Tibisay Lucena, president of the electoral council, said everything had taken place "in an atmosphere of calm and civic-mindedness" without major incidents.

Sources: Reuters, AFP, Bloomberg

Also see: Chavez perd le contrôle absolu du parlement vénézuélien by Patrick Bèle, Le figaro

Story by Elio Ohep  from  Petroleumworld,, 58 412 996 3730, Caracas. 09/27/2010



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