October surprise

Venezuela’s electoral council has announced that next year’s Presidential elections have been moved up about two months.

Instead of the traditional December date, the elections next year will be held on October 7th, 2012.

As we were saying yesterday, the rumor is that Hugo Chávez’s health is not good, and that the Electoral Council was considering holding the elections sooner than usual to make sure the President was healthy enough to campaign.

The new President is supposed to take the oath on January 10th, 2013. If the election is in October, Venezuela could potentially have a President-Elect from the opposition for a full three months.

32 thoughts on “October surprise

  1. And, potentially, a long lame duck government with potential to do a lot of harm. Remember wha t the National Assembly accomplished in much less time.
    Still it could have been worse…

  2. As I said in the other thread this 3 months could be a very difficult time for Venezuela if the oppos win. I foresee much violence. They will do anything in power to keep control.

  3. I’m being told the February date for the primaries stands. They don’t see a need to change it.

  4. No chemo treatment is “only” four times, so I dont believe much of what he says. I still think splitting Presidential and Governors is weird, if he is in good shape or bad shape, his party would carry more if they are on the same day.

  5. Here goes the first bomb: CNE says that if any major or governor runs for president, they have to step down from their positions…

    So it could be a double win for them!! Capriles runs, loses and they regain Miranda…

    • I think she meant “temporarily” step down. Rosales, after losing, went back to being Governor.

    • “if any major or governor runs for president, they have to step down from their positions”

      Funny how a president doesn’t have to step down, temporarily or otherwise…

  6. I think this is a good thing for the opposition, at least in the sense that it comes sooner than December, folks will not be on vacation and it still gives a decent amount of time after the primaries.

    OTOH, this means more time for “La Piñata”

  7. Venezuelan Bonds going down a bit, but I guess mainly due to the European crisis. Do you guys think that prizes will be influenced by this change of election’s date?

  8. There is something I don’t understand Juan.

    After I had chemo, the farther I was from my last chemo treatment, the better I felt.
    So I don’t understand the logic behind the statement that the election was scheduled sooner to give Ch an advantage. In fact, in my experience, it is the other way around: he will be weaker two months before than two months later.

    Can someone explain to me then, why this was the oppo rumor and why this should help Chavez?

    • I think-considering the way things are going-everything getting worse-economically, internationally and with Cuba and other dictator friends of Chavez- the sooner the election -the better for Chavez-because Chavez will continue to lose support and cannot do anything about it-.There fore it will be obvious that he does not have a majority- no longer has the mandate of el pueblo- that day is coming soon.
      Regardless, I feel sure Chavez has plans to “fix” the election. Again, better sooner than later- theyARE scared. It is not really a strong opposition- I think it is mainly some international pressure-finally and- people are not “entertained” by Chavez anymore-
      Alo Presidente – everyone should turn it off and heal themselves…

    • I think we need to speculate a little more on this topic.
      Some rumors were that elections were going to be moved sometime between March and May basically to ruin the oppo primaries. That would also make sense if Chavez could not make it to December. But October? It doesn’t accomplish any of those two objectives and it doesn’t seem to give much benefits to chavismo. Separating the governor elections actually would hurt instead of help them specially if they lose.

      If the reason is the piñata thing (which could very well be) that means they’re anticipating a strong possibility of losing and they’re preparing either their exit strategy or their staying strategy.
      Either way we should be able to see some rats leaving the ship in 1, 2, ….

      What other possibilities are there?

      • If Chavez is very ill, the sooner he can get another election under his belt, the more time it gives him to plan the succession.

        • Right, but in that case I thought they would go for an even earlier date like June, July. October doesn’t seem to give him that much of an improvement on his chances to win because it’s hard to predict that he will be well enough to win in October but not December.

  9. I read the article, and I could not see that any reason was given for the change. Did I miss something? Like Bruni, I don’t see any logic behind the rumor that the change is connected to Chavez’ illness. I think it is more likely that narcissistic Chavez simply doesn’t want to share the election with the regional candidates… “It is about ME! Me, me, me!!!”

    I think that very often, the Oppo seeks reason and rational in Chavismo actions instead of accepting that some decisions are pure whim.

    • They are not paying attention to her. I don’t get it, why they are so keen to believe this kind of rumours. It doesn’t make sense at all.
      I don’t see the disease picture they are portraying makes sense.

    • Columbia holds elections in October so I am guessing this is a move to bring Venezuela in line with a Colombia

  10. Hey economists: any projections relating to the fact that they scheduled the elections in the middle of the rainy season? Would this affect voting centres in poor areas more than voting centres in middle income/wealthy suburbs? Is abstention in Venezuela roughly equal among different socio-economic sectors of society?

    Did they just loose the presidency in a massive Homer Simpson styled fuck up? (it would be fitting!)

  11. I meant to put this comment on this post, but I had mistakenly pasted it on the wrong browser tab…

    The MUD has put forward a “Transition law”, which will try to bind the current government into not “raspar la olla”. Of course, much damage has been done already, and the main rationale of this quasi admission of defeat, is that they want time to plunder as they go (and to fix their legal status for the future). Alas, the government might want to avoid a bleak fourth economic quarter and an angry December mood, as they cannot repeat the 2004 scenario.

    I’m sure the transition will become an electoral issue, as the negotiations to introduce and pass the bill will reveal fears (and perhaps some deals and backhanded requests for “free passes” and “blind eyes”), even though Canciller Maduro has just called it “ridiculous and incoherent”. The primarias schedule remains in place (alternative plans were created -and are still in place- depending on a margin of dates), and all the regional boards are set, and the main candidates are OK with the date (it is Maria Corina Machado’s BD after all).

    Moreover, I wanted to address the rumor mill. The March date was put forward by those who wanted an consensual (as opposed to primarias-elected) candidate (possibly Eduardo Fernandez)… In view of the announced Sept. 12th meeting of the CNE board, Carlos Blanco, Rafael Poleo, Alberto Franceschi, Pablo Aure, all called for the moving up of the election date in recent press articles (because the economy is in the doldrums, because the president was not getting better, because there was a “power void”, because the young and popular candidates are feeble-minded and superficial, because there will be a coup, and so on…). Puzkas presented the date as a fact (then recanted), but Otero, Ravell and Bocaranda jumped on it… Anonymous mail cadenas were put forward requesting a cancellation of the primarias, because the country needed elections now and we couldn’t afford the expense. Miquilena brokered a Governor’s convention hosted by Morel in Margarita to propose a separate oppo command, which seems to have floundered. In any case, the government had nothing to do with the March ghost…

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