Wednesday, December 09, 2015

Final Venezuelan Electoral Results


Final Venezuelan Electoral Results

by Stephen Lendman

Final results for Venezuela’s 167-seat National Assembly weren’t known until two days after the polls closed.

On Tuesday, Venezuela’s National Electoral Council (CNE) reported opposition Democratic Unity Roundtable (MUD) candidates won 107 seats to the ruling socialist coalition Great Patriotic Pole’s (GPP) 55 - a 64.07% to 32.93% majority. 

Indigenous seats comprise another 1.80% of the 167 legislative body. Two seats remained undecided. CNE announced MUD candidates won them, giving them 109 seats, three short of a crucial super-majority.

When new deputies are sworn in on January 5, three independent indigenous members will be swing votes. What they’ll support or oppose is crucial going forward.

Venezuela Analysis reported they endorsed MUD’s platform while campaigning. Whether it means they’ll risk compromising constitutionally guaranteed Bolivarian social justice rights remains to be seen.

They’re too precious to lose. One of Chavez’s first acts as new Venezuelan president in 1999 was to hold a popularly supported national referendum on whether to convene a National Constituent Assembly to draft a new constitution, embodying his social justice agenda.

It passed overwhelmingly - followed three months later by elections to the National Assembly. Chavistas won 95% of the seats.

They drafted a historic document - a revolutionary Constitucion de la Republica Bolivariana de Venezuela. It was put to a nationwide referendum vote in December to let Venezuelans decide up or down whether to accept or reject it.

Its overwhelming approval changed everything - creating the beginning of the world’s most vibrant democracy, polar opposite America’s sham system, giving ordinary people say on how they’re governed.

Venezuelans have a model participatory social democracy, unimaginable in the West - including a National Electoral Council (CNE), assuring electoral procedures are scrupulously open, free and fair. 

Article 56 of the Bolivarian Constitution states: “All persons have the right to be registered free of charge with the Civil Registry Office after birth, and to obtain public documents constituting evidence of the biological identity, in accordance with law.”

All Venezuelans are enfranchised to vote under one national standard. Full participation is encouraged. No one is denied their constitutional right, vastly different from how America operates, disenfranchising millions of its citizens for dubious reasons, rigging things so business as usual always wins.

The spirit of the Venezuelan Bolivarian Constitution is stated straightaway in its Preamble: “to establish a democratic, participatory and self-reliant, multiethnic and multicultural society in a just, federal and decentralized State that embodies the values of freedom, independence, peace, solidarity, the common good, the nation's territorial integrity, comity and the rule of law for this and future generations;”

It further “guarantees the right to life, work, learning, education, social justice and equality, without discrimination or subordination of any kind; promotes peaceful cooperation among nations and further strengthens Latin American integration in accordance with the principle of nonintervention and national self-determination of the people, the universal and indivisible guarantee of human rights, the democratization of imitational society, nuclear disarmament, ecological balance and environmental resources as the common and inalienable heritage of humanity…” 

This language would be unimaginable in America’s Constitution or statutes. It mandates benefits too important to lose, including free healthcare and education to the highest levels, subsidized food, housing benefits and other social justice provisions.

Articles 83 - 85 require state policy “improve the quality of life and common welfare,” - low oil prices taking a heavy toll on its ability to fulfill its obligation to the full extent of its mandate.

Indigenous peoples’ rights are recognized and respected, Article 119 stating:

“The State will recognize the existence of indigenous peoples and communities, their social, political and economic organization, their cultures, traditions and customs, languages and religions, as well as their environment and original rights over the lands they ancestrally and traditionally inhabit, and which are necessary to develop and guarantee their ways of life. It shall be the responsibility of the National Executive, with the participation of indigenous peoples, to demarcate and guarantee the collective property of their lands, which shall be inalienable, not subject to limitations or distraint, and non-transferable in accordance with this Constitution and the law.”

Here’s what’s at stake for indigenous people and all Venezuelans if MUD has super-majority control.

It’ll be able to dismiss Supreme Court justices, appoint their own neoliberal ones. Most important, they’ll be able to enact constitutional changes, ending or gravely compromising Bolivarian social justice provisions - including fundamental indigenous peoples’ rights.

Will their representatives risk this outcome by supporting MUD, harming their interests in the process?

They hold the balance of power going forward. They can preserve, compromise, or possibly wreck hard-won Chavismo social justice gains. Will they rise to the challenge to maintain what’s vital to protect?

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net. 

His new book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III."

http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanIII.html

Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com. 

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