Friday, 6 August 2010

The Lurid Story of Venezuelan Political Parties


% of party per state
governor elections in 2008

Venezuela's political mood has been evolving quite a lot since 2008. Still, a phenomenon that has plagued the country since the early XIX century remains unchanged: it is a country of caudillos where parties are more than anywhere else a platform for a leader, then a platform for the friends and only then a platform for an ideology...of sorts. To some extent the People's Front of Judea had a more mature political platform than most Venezuelan parties:

Almost no party has a programme and definitely not something that can be seen as a plan for sustainable development. The PSUV produced some lengthy "wish list" after 8 years in power and Primero Justicia has a plan that almost no one knows about.

In the first chart you see the results in percentage for each state of each political "party". It was very difficult to portray it all: the Chávez party, the PSUV, got into coalition with the small Partido Comunista de Venezuela almost everywhere and with different other parties in this or that state.

Votes per party per state 2008, governor and Alcalde Mayor

As you see, a lot of people want to found parties in Venezuela.

The second graph shows the same data with total of votes. There is about a dozen "social democratic" parties, a dozen "liberal" parties, a hundred parties that want to act at national level but have just a couple of hundred voters per state and also several dozen parties that are represented in one state only. I haven't seen something like this...perhaps in Afghanistan, but I have never been there.

Remember this data comes from the 2008 elections. The opposition acted in a very messy way back then. It lost several municipalities because there was no common front (one of them the third largest city of the country, Valencia) and the largest state by surface, Bolívar. Now unity has improved, even if it is at a microscopic level.

Barinas, we lost it. The second place went to a former Chavista who is now being attacked at every level by the government because he was on his turn denouncing the corruption within the Chávez clan. Barinas is a sort of Duchy for the Chávez clan. The current governor is Chávez's oldest brother and the previous one was his dad. Several key posts in the state belong to the Chávez clan.

Bolívar, the largest state: we lost it because centre-right Primero Justicia (PJ) did not want to accept Velázquez from Causa R, was the most popular opposition candidate and Velázquez did not want to leave it to PJ either. Half a dozen parties supported Causa R and half a dozen parties supported PJ, so the PSUV got it.

Aragua: central state where the opposition hasn't got a clue. One of the main opposition politicians from Aragua is now major of the Sucre Municipality in Caracas.

The opposition got the state of Carabobo with the clan party of Proyecto Venezuela (brownish yellow) and the support of many other parties. Unfortunately, the opposition lost the very important city of Valencia because Proyecto Venezuela did not want to accept other parties had a much more popular candidate for the municipality. Proyecto Venezuela also tries to place candidates in many other states, which is a complete waste of resources.

Monagas, another Venezuelan-cowbody state. The opposition, specially PJ and UNT, haven't found out how to get there. Maturín, the main city, is considered a village by most people from Caracas, in spite of its 650000 inhabitants. Several of the most notorious Boliburgueses, including Diosdado Cabello, one of the 3 most important guys in Chávez's inner circle, come from here.

Unlike what some very silly foreign useful idiots think, Zulianos do not want the independence. They are very regionalist, though. The opposition easily wins there: UNT (social democrats sort of) got a bit more votes than PSUV on its own and also got the support of AD, COPEI, Primero Justicia and several micro-parties.

Miranda: the North of Miranda is part of Greater Caracas. Most of the PJ seems to be living and breathing and thinking there. Once you get out of Northern Miranda, you are mostly in Chávez territory. I suppose opposition leaders spend 0.5% of their time there.

In spite of that, the government of Miranda, led by PJ, has been doing a pretty decent job and they are likely to increase their popularity also in Chavista areas, in spite of the national government taking away most competences and a large part of resources from the regions, in spite of constant attacks by Chavista thugs to any initiative from PJ. I just wish PJ (and the other 400 opposition parties) would spend more time in the secondary cities and towns.

Chávez supporters led by a pro-Chávez mayor attacking the state governor house after the PJ was elected, 2008. This was just one of the many attacks against the opposition. I listed some of them here.

The PSUV has been losing ground in the last months, but let's remember the pro-Chávez Electoral Council has done a lot to gerrymander in many key places, the regime is using the state channels and radios as permanent propaganda weapons, it is not allowing access to the alternative forces and the most modern electoral system on Earth, forever certified by the Carter Centre, EU and Jupiter tends to produce paper trails that do not match the digital vote.

The democratic forces need to work much harder and above all more intelligently if we want to have pluralism and start to take the road of sustainable development in the coming years.

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