Monday, December 03, 2007

Surprise; Chavez Loses Constitutional "Reform" Vote

I'm frankly stunned. [T]hugo Chavez lost his bid to move Venezuela one step closer to the socialist dictatorship Chavez always wanted.

On top of that, he actually didn't contest the vote or claim that the US interfered. He admitted he lost on national television.
It was the first major electoral defeat in the nine years of his presidency. Voters rejected the 69 proposed amendments 51 to 49 percent.

The political opposition erupted into celebration, shooting fireworks into the air and honking car horns, when electoral officials announced the results at 1:20 a.m. The nation had remained on edge since polls closed Sunday afternoon and the wait for results began.

The outcome is a stunning development in a country where Mr. Chávez and his supporters control nearly all of the levers of power. Almost immediately after the results were broadcast on state television, Mr. Chávez conceded defeat, describing the results as a “photo finish.”

“I congratulate my adversaries for this victory,” he said. “For now, we could not do it.”

Opposition leaders were ecstatic. “Tonight, Venezuela has won,” said Manuel Rosales, governor of Zulia State and the opposition’s candidate in presidential elections last year.

In recent weeks, members of previously splintered opposition movements joined disillusioned Chávez supporters in an attempt to defeat the referendum on constitutional changes. The plan would abolish term limits, allow Mr. Chávez to declare states of emergency for unlimited periods and increase the state’s role in the economy, among other measures.
Today is a good day in Venezuela.

Venezuelans realized what Chavez was actually intent upon doing, and were determined not to let it happen. This isn't to say that Chavez wont try again; he will. But for now, he's been chastized and humbled by this major defeat.

Gateway Pundit has the rundown of the day's events - and it was indeed quite close as early polls had put Chavez ahead, but in the end, he lost 51-49.

Fausta notes that if the margin was that tight, it's more than likely that Chavez did all the rigging and prodding he could to overcome a huge loss just to make it look respectable.

Again, while Chavez lost this round, he's not going to give up. He'll be back - and watch for him to crack down on the opposition media outlets again before making another attempt to revise the Venezuelan constitution. If you can shut down the opposition media outlets, you can get your message out unopposed.

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