04 December 2007
Abstentions defeated Chavez
As we reported yesterday, Hugo Chavez Frias' plans to change the Venezuelan Constitution failed by the narrowest of margins. The entrails still need to be read, but one thing has already become clear: almost 44% of the population didn't bother to vote.
One possible reason for that massive abstention could be voter fatigue. The people of Venezuela only re-elected Chavez Frias last year, and since he first took office in 1998 it seems as if elections and referenda have arrived thick and fast.
Many people, myself included, are political junkies, but many more aren't. It is not beyond the realms of possibility to argue that having given Chavez Frias a 63% mandate last year, many people just didn't fancy standing in the sweltering heat for hours to vote on yet more changes.
The President will remain in office until 2013, so he has plenty of time to entrench his revolution. The important thing now may just be to give people a rest from voting. Chavez Frias has enormous powers as president already, so he can still make some of the changes that he wants.