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Monday, December 05, 2005

Chavez Consolidates Power

From the Washington Post:

Allies of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez were poised take overwhelming control of the legislature after some of the country's strongest opposition parties called for a boycott of Sunday's congressional election, claiming it was unfairly controlled by the government and therefore illegitimate.

Though final results had not yet been announced late Sunday, allies of Chavez said they easily captured a two-thirds majority, which would be needed to change the constitution and possibly permit Chavez to run for a third consecutive six-year term in 2012 without the need for a referendum. Chavez has already announced his plans to run for reelection next year.

Chavez downplayed the boycott, which was formally observed by about 10 percent of the more than 5,500 candidates vying for the 167 National Assembly seats. Among those who pulled out of the race last week were members of the most powerful opposition parties. Chavez suggested that they did so only after it became clear that they would be roundly defeated at the ballot box.

Update:

In an unusual election victory, Hugo Chávez’s party and its allies have won all the seats in Venezuela's national assembly, thanks to a boycott by most of the opposition parties. While some of Venezuela’s neighbours are warming to the fiery, anti-American populist, the best others can hope for is to stop him from becoming a regional menace

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