Chavez allies say victorious in Congress vote
Updated: 2005-12-05 11:07
Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez's political party said on Sunday it had won
114 out of 167 seats in the Congress after opposition parties dropped out of
elections protesting bias by electoral authorities.
MVR party chief Willian Lara said its preliminary figures showed the alliance
of pro-Chavez lawmakers had won all the seats in parliament, handing the
left-wing leader uncontested control over the legislature.
"MVR managed to get 114 deputies elected and according to the figures we
have, all 167 members of the National Assembly are supporters of the project
written into the Bolivarian constitution," Lara said in a reference to Chavez
The National Electoral Council has still to provide final results. But with
just 114 MVR seats in the Congress, the pro-Chavez alliance would have more than
two thirds it needs to press for what they call necessary reforms, such as
allowing unlimited re-election to the presidency, which opponents fear will give
even greater authority to the former army officer.
Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez greets
supporters after casting his ballot during legislative elections in
Caracas, December 4, 2005. [Reuters]
Most opposition groups abstained from voting on Sunday after accusing
electoral authorities of favoring the populist leader and manipulating
electronic voting machines, despite agreeing previously to participate in the
Chavez, a frequent critic of Washington, has accused U.S. officials of
orchestrating the boycott to trigger a political crisis. But he said the move
included only a minority of candidates and could not invalidate the vote.
"These old parties, they are already dead -- but they are still hanging on,
resisting death," Chavez told reporters after casting his vote in Caracas. "Now
they've accelerated their own demise."
National Assembly deputies backing Chavez held 86 seats against 79 in the
opposition camp. Two new seats were up for grabs this year.
Lawmakers backing Chavez have said they want to pass
constitutional changes such as lifting the limit of two terms on presidential
tenure. Chavez foes fear this will hand more power to a man they already accuse
of eroding democracy by controlling the courts and other institutions.