|Chavez will stay the course despite decline in margin of victory||
Hugo Chavez’s fourth consecutive victory in a Venezuelan presidential election was made possible by his successful political and economic programs over the past 12 years, according to political analysts. In fact, Chavez’s diversified economic plans and national development projects guaranteed his reelection in the oil-rich Latin American country.
There are three major reasons for Chavez’s victory. First, he successfully used the huge oil revenues amassed over the past few years to begin to bridge the vast income gap in the society. With his anti-poverty programs, such as free educational services and health clinics, food discounts, and low-income housing, he was able to gain massive popular support, especially among the poor. Chavez has continuously emphasized that “reaching out to the poor” is his main mission as Venezuelan president.
The second reason for Chavez’s victory was the rift in the opposition, which was unable to establish a united front against Chavez in the recent election. The 40-year-old Henrique Capriles, Chavez’s main rival, failed to persuade a majority of voters that his plans and his vision were the best path forward for the country.
The third reason was the opposition’s decision to emphasize Chavez’s health problems, which was an unwise tactic. In other words, the speculation about whether Chavez’s cancer would prevent him from competing in the race backfired.
However, Chavez experienced a decrease in the margin of his victory compared to previous elections. This time he won by about eleven points, 55.14% to 44.24%, while in 1998 he won 56.2% to 39.97% and in 2000 and 2006, he won 60 and 62 percent of the vote respectively.
It is said that the main reasons for the drop in support were Chavez’s failure to materialize all his promises, the coalition established by the opposition groups, and the higher expectations of the Venezuelan electorate this year.
Although he will definitely stick to his original policies, it could be said that the reduction of support at the ballot box will create more difficulties for Chavez in his fourth term and he will have more problems advancing the ideals of his Bolivarian revolution.
Mansour Moazzami is a faculty member of the Petroleum University of Technology and an expert on Latin America based in Tehran.
Subscribe to our RSS feed to stay in touch and receive all of TT updates right in your feed reader