Where the opposition stands in this years Venezuela election
PMBComment | The following 6 numbers are a good starting point for a commentary on Sunday’s opposition primaries in Venezuela.
3 | 17% | 64% | 2x | 5% | 1
In order they represent:
The number of people – in millions - that voted in the primaries
The percentage of total registered voters that voted in this unique exercise
The percentage of votes obtained by the victor - Henrique Capriles Radonski
The multiple of Capriles’ margin over second place finisher - Pablo Perez
The combined percentage for Maria Corina Machado, Diego Arria and Pablo Medina
The number of minutes it took the government to cry foul and lash out (an this was just the opening salvo)
This outcome – viewed in its full dimension – was nothing short of stunning.
For the opposition it represents the very – and I mean very – best case scenario in terms of turnout, mandate for the winner and reaction from the losers. For the regime it is – obviously - the worse (as in, very worse) scenario; made all the worse by the derision with which they had treated and had tried to derail the entire primary process.
As a result of this sharply asymmetric outcome, we have entered into a near-term-high-conflict zone. Given the consequences for the Bolivarian revolution of an electoral upset in October, they will, in all likelihood, try every trick in the book, use every penny in the treasury (plus foreign ‘loans’) and forge any nasty alliance necessary to hold on to power. Given the high cost of ejection and the complexities associated with stealing an election post-facto, anything they do now (as in, sooner rather than later) will seem rational and cheap by comparison to the panicky incumbents and its wide spectrum of nefarious foreign allies.