The president of Venezuela has now been confirmed as Maduro after a close election battle. Protests by Capriles, and his party, were made but the National Electoral Council continued to defend Maduro’s narrow victory of 50.7%:49.1%.
Conflict broke out in the capital, Caracas, between protester and police declaring that the votes had been miscounted. Some students took to the streets to show their discontent, whilst others took to balconies and the streets hitting pots and pans in protest. The protests had been expected as Capriles had urged people to protest the results if Maduro won.
However, thousands of supporters also took to the street in support of Maduro’s win. Singing and dancing was seen and horns were heard. Maduro told his supporters that the result was “just, legal and constitutional” and that he looks forward to leading the country.
Here are some challenges currently Venezuela face:
Internal divisions: Society is deeply divided into those who see Chavez’s “Bolivarian revolution” as the solution to their problems and those who think it has been the country’s ruin.
Shortages: Everyday goods in short supply and power cuts common
Inflation: 25% inflation is threatening to stop all increases in the minimum wage.
Crime: One of the highest homicide and kidnapping rates and few crimes are punished.
Prisons: Overcrowding and poor conditions have caused a series of deadly prison riots. Many of those in jail have been awaiting trial for years.
Relations with the US: Have been tense over the past decades as President Chavez engaged in anti-US rhetoric.
These posts were about Hugo Chavez’s election as president, but he was unable to be sworn in due to illness and there were outcalls for his swearing in day to be postponed and nominate a temporary president. However, since then, Hugo Chavez has died and Venezuela is now preparing for a vote to elect a new president.
The current, acting president President Nicolas Maduro, who Chavez selected to be his successor, is challenging the governor of Miranda state (Henrique Capriles) for the position. Capriles had narrowly lost to Chavez in the election of October 2012. There are approximately 19 million registered voters in Venezuela for the upcoming election whose votes will be recorded electronically – one machine will confirm their identity and vote and another will identify their fingerprint.
There has already been significant tension between the two candidates. Capriles accused Chavez of breaking the rules of the election by continuing campaigning after the polls had opened and for visiting Chavez’s tomb which he stated was “violating all the electoral norms”.
The winner of the election is to be sworn in on the 19th April to complete Chavez’s six year term which began in January.
Who will win the election? And, what sort of president is Venezuela looking for?
In a previous post we talked about the possibility of Hugo Chavez being unable to take office for his next term due to being treated for a lung infection. There had been a lot of opposition from those who though it was undemocratic that Diosado Cabello could lead Venezuela without public consent. Fortunately for them it has been declared legal to postpone Chavez’s inauguration, thus extending his mandate whilst he recovers.
The President of the Supreme Court, Luisa Estella Morales, said today that it would be “absurd” if the people of Venezuela did not declare Chavez’s illness as an authorised absence. She agreed that the oath to take office in the new term should be delayed to a later day than 10th January (the original inauguration day).
The result of this was to enable the people currently in office in Venezuela to continue until Chavez has recovered. Those who oppose Chavez, as stated in a previous post, would like Chavez’s powers temporarily removed whilst he recovers, allowing Diosdado to take temporary power, but they do not want Vice-President Nicolas Maduro to take temporary power.
What are your thought on the delay of Chavez’s inauguration, and is this constitutional?
The National Assembly of Venezuela has met to select a leader, possibly to stand-in for President Hugo Chavez whilst he recovers from cancer surgery in Cuba. The outcome was to announce Diosdado Cabello as the leader.
If Hugo Chavez is unable to return to Venezuela to commence his new term on Thursday Cabello will lead Venezuela, at least for the moment. Opposition leaders are calling for a new election from the people to decide the new election if Chavez does not return, whilst Cabello will be the caretaker president.
As an ally of Chavez, Cabello was expected to take office as he was selected by Mr Chavez’s governing United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV). Mr Cabello is in a position of overwhelming power but has vowed to remain unity, along with Cabello’s political rival, vice-president Nicolas Maduro, in the PSUV.
Chavez had been elected to lead Venezuela until 2019 and it has created uproar that the decision to select another person, to lead Venezuela, without public consent has been left directly to the government.