Chavez foes advance in election

Chavez foes advance in election

Wall painting of Hugo Chavez in Caracas
Mr Chavez had urged voters to ‘demolish’ the opposition

The Venezuelan opposition has performed well in elections, overturning President Hugo Chavez’s two-thirds majority in parliament.
Mr Chavez’s United Socialist Party (PSUV) still won a majority of seats in Sunday’s poll, but will now be unable to pass major legislation unaided.
Opposition parties had hoped to seize seats after boycotting polls in 2005.
Turnout was high in the poll, seen as a test of Mr Chavez’s popularity ahead of presidential elections in 2012.
Electoral authorities announced that the PSUV won at least 90 places, and the opposition umbrella group Table for Democratic Unity (MUD) at least 59 – surpassing the key target of 55, which would see the PSUV’s two-thirds majority overturned.
A third party won another two, and 14 seats in the 165-member National Assembly were yet to be decided.
The results were only announced several hours after polls closed, despite an automated voting system supposed to supply results quickly – prompting the opposition to accuse electoral officials of stalling.
The opposition focused its election campaign on rising crime and rising inflation, reports the BBC’s Will Grant in Caracas.
Now with this electoral advance it will become a more important force, he says.
The loss of Mr Chavez’s party’s two-thirds majority in parliament means that the opposition may now be able to block major pieces of legislation and appointments to the Supreme Court.
However, the new parliament will not convene until early January, leaving Mr Chavez three months to push through any key reforms.

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