States of Zulia, Miranda, and Táchira played a decisive role|
President Hugo Chávez's intended changes to the Constitution were approved in 15 out of 24 Venezuelan states. However, significant rejection in the states of Zulia, Miranda, and Táchira eventually tipped the balance in favor of the No-bloc.
Further, the opposition won the referendum in seven out of the eight most important states in the country, based on the number of voters, namely Zulia, Miranda, Carabobo, Lara, Anzoátegui, and the Capital District (Caracas). The exception in this case was central Aragua state.
Similarly to the presidential election in 2006, the opposition regional leaderships failed in 15 out of the 24 states of Venezuela. Unlike the presidential election in 2006, this time Chavezism had a hard time trying to make Chávez's followers take part in the election, to the extent that Chávez in one year dropped 2,929,688 votes.
While the referendum held last Sunday was not a presidential vote, comparisons are unavoidable, especially because Chávez's government focused its electoral strategy in turning the reform referendum into a plebiscite.
This time, things were different for the opposition. In the
2006 presidential ballot, Chávez's foes -through presidential
candidate Manuel Rosales- gained 4,292,466 votes. In Sunday
referendum, the No-bloc obtained 4,504,350 votes, an increase
of 211,884 ballots in 12 months.
León branded as a mistake the opposition claims that Chávez's followers are a minority group. He underscores that it is necessary to differentiate between the support for the reform and the support for the Venezuelan ruler.
The dissenters also expected good results in eastern Sucre state, where governor Ramón Martínez leaded the rejection against the reform. His efforts resulted in the opposition slowing down its trend to lose votes in this state. In 2004 recall referendum, Chávez's foes gained 101,617 votes in Sucre state. The figure fell to 93,791 in the 2006 presidential vote, and in Sunday referendum it climbed to 120,214 votes. However, just like in Aragua state, this rebound was insufficient, and the Yes-bloc prevailed with 125,494 votes.
Chávez's major supporters
In seven out of 24 states, six out of every 10 people continue to show support for Chávez or his proposals. In Amazonas state, 65.7 percent of voters endorsed Chávez's proposed reform. In Portuguesa state, the intended changes were backed by 63 percent of voters, just like in Apure state (61 percent), Delta Amacuro (60.9 percent), Cojedes state (60.8 percent) and Guárico (58 percent).
With the rejection against the reform, the opposition -based on votes lent from Chávez's followers- once again triumphed in seven states that have supported Chávez ever since the recall vote in 2004.
Miranda state is one of the states reconquered. The No-bloc's lead over the Yes-bloc was 119,988 votes.
In Táchira, the No-bloc obtained 57,985 votes more than the Yes-bloc. In Carabobo state, the No-bloc's lead over the Yes-bloc was 44,090 votes. In the states of Anzoátegui, Mérida, and the Capital District, the difference between the No-bloc and the Yes-bloc was 39,831, 39,762, and 39,762, respectively.
The most pyrrhic victory of the No-bloc was in northwestern Lara state -the home state of Chávez's former wife Marisabel Rodríguez, who campaigned against the reform-, at 11,877 votes.
Translated by Maryflor Suárez R.
|Copyright @ Diario El Universal C.A. 2007|