Archive for September, 2010

Killer Facts About Venezuela’s Parliamentary Elections

September 29, 2010

Mr. President, how can it be that the opposition with more votes than your party got only 37% of the Deputies? Sorry, well… I… then… you…well, did you see the bird? Did you see it? Ah? Did you see it?

—Art. 186 of Venezuela’s Constitution (Chavez’ Constitution) says”The National Assembly will be composed by Deputies elected in each federal entity by universal, direct, personal and secret vote with proportional representation, according to a population base of 1.1 % of the population.

—Despite this, the opposition, despite obtaining approximately the same number of votes as Chavez’ PSUV party, only got 39.39% of the Deputies in the National Assembly. Not Proportional at all, as stated in the Constitution.

—This happened because of a rule change, a new “methodology”, which was selectively applied only to eight States: Zulia, Distrito Capital, Miranda, Carabobo, Amazonas, Barinas, Lara and Táchira. These are the States where the opposition has strength, except fr Chavez’ home state of Barinas.

—The top five vote candidates by vote, were all opposition candidates, the bottom 15 candidadtes by vote were Chavista candidates.

—Pro-Chavez candidates that won received on average 55,092 votes, Opposition candidates on the other hand received on average 81,728 votes.

—Without the revolutionary new “methodology” the opposition estimates it would have obtained 14 more Deputies (79), at the expense of Chavez’ PSUV which would have obtained 81 seats in the Assembly.

—In the Capital District, the opposition got more votes than Chavez’ PSUV, but only won two out of eight nominal Deputies. So much for proportionality…

—In Carabobo State, the opposition got 53.7% of the votes and PSUV got 43% of the votes, despite which the opposition only got four Deputies and Chavismo seven. Proportionality is truly dead in Carabobo.

And it works both ways, because of the rule tampering and the methodology, in Zulia State, the opposition got 54.8% of the vote versus Chavismo’s 44.4%, but the opposition got twelve out of thirteen Deputies. That’s not fair either, but it results from the new “methodology”. The opposition getting so many votes was not in the “plan”, the “methodology” was implemented when Chavismo was more optimistic.

Finally, no matter how you want to spin it, the truth is that Chavismo did not do well. As proof, here are the voting trends in three Chavista strongholds of the past, including Vargas State, once considered as strong Chavista territory as could exist. The chart shows the percentage of the vote for Chavez for President in 2006, for the Chavista Governor and for the list vote in this election. The trend is clearly not Chavismo’s friend in any of these states. Just extrapolate two more years.



Carta Abierta a Socorro Hernandez del CNE

September 28, 2010

(Sorry for the post in Spanish)

Querida Socorro,

Con curiosidad leímos tus declaraciones del día de hoy, en las que dices, con la precisión de un reloj suizo, que las circunscripciones electorales fueron diseñadas por un “método” basado en la “ley.”

¿Cuál es ese “método” Socorro?

Los únicos estados donde hubo modificaciones fueron Zulia, Distrito Capital, Miranda, Carabobo, Amazonas, Barinas, Lara y Táchira. Qué casualidad que siete de estos ocho estados favorecen a la oposición, y el otro (Barinas) es el estado natal del Presidente.

Cosas de la matemática, dirás. Pero dinos, ¿será posible que compartas con nosotros la mágica fórmula matemática – “el método”, como lo llamas tú – que dio ese maravilloso resultado?

No seas pichirre, vale. Si tienes un “método” exacto que obliga a unir Baruta con Chacao y Leoncio Martínez, ¿acaso no es un crímen tenerlo guardado bajo llave?

Debe ser fascinante ese “método” que los llevó a dividir el Municipio Sucre del Estado Miranda en tres partes – dos partes en las que tradicionalmente gana la oposición, y otra en la que gana el gobierno y que fue anexada a Guarenas.

Debe ser muy sabio ese “método” que unió las parroquias de El Paraíso y La Vega del Distrito Capital – en las que la oposición salió relativamente bien – con las parroquias de Antímano y Macarao, donde el chavismo nos da palo.

Ese método debe ser tan sofisticado que por eso nadie lo entiende. ¿Será por eso que tu colega Vicente Díaz dijo que no existían criterios técnicos para los cambios? ¿No crees que ese “método” – que ni siquiera el otro rector del CNE conoce – quiere ver la luz del día? ¿Acaso no merece tu “método” salir del closet?

Mira, Socorro, nosotros no somos sino unos simples ciudadanos blogueros. No tenemos a la mano la fuerza del aparato del Estado, ni comandamos el Plan República. No tenemos las armas tecnológicas, financieras, ni matemáticas que ustedes, los poderosos, sí tienen.

Lo único que sí tenemos – por ahora, ¿verdad? – es nuestra voz y el artículo 186 de la Constitución, que dice que la representación en la Asamblea deberá ser proporcional.

Y por eso te invitamos a discutir tu “método” con nosotros, donde quieras y cuando quieras. Trae tu fórmula, y nosotros traemos nuestros estudios que, modestia aparte, creemos son bastante serios. Trae tu “modelo” y nosotros traeremos las predicciones y pronósticos que hicimos y que lograron predecir el resultado de la elección.

Porque si es verdad que el “método” no favorece a nadie en particular, no deberías tener problema en debatirlo con nosotros. Si tu “método” es como lo pintas, te lo reconoceríamos sin dudar.

Es más, si nos convences, te hacemos tronco de publicidad. Como nuestro trabajo ha sido citado por The Guardian, The Economist, la BBC, Reuters, y otros medios internacionales, capaz y hasta te ayudamos a revertir esa “matriz de opinión” contraria al CNE que también hoy denunciaste.

Sería sólo un simple debate entre compatriotas. Democracia pura, pues.

Entonces Socorro, ¿te anotas?

Los autores de

www.caracaschronicles.com

www.devilsexcrement.com

http://daniel-venezuela.blogspot.com/

http://alekboyd.blogspot.com/

Venezuelan Pollsters: Mostly fail!

September 28, 2010

Venezuelan pollsters were unusually cagey in this election and they were right to be. Given the uncertainties in the undecided voters, the phantom Ni-Ni’s, as well as the hard to predict abstention and the lack of detailed polls in each district, it was somewhat daring to try to predict the outcome.

But as they were cagey in public, in private it was  a different matter spewing out theories and predictions, most of which were simply wrong. They should have kept quiet.

So, without further ado, here is why I paid attention to Daniel and Quico more closely than most pollsters. In fact, in a report I write about Venezuela I used their analysis to predict 65 Deputies for the oppo and 50% of the vote. Better than if I had used most of the “experts” below :

Constant Fail!: Seijas. Chavez’ pollster was telling us Chavismo would get 62% of the vote with a 3% error. Sorry Seijas, you are getting tiring, please try to narrow that error. For that matter, why not do a real poll, not one Chavez wants to read.You seem to be always wrong. Was it 65% or 62% in the 2007 referendum? Fail!

New and repeat Fail: GS XXI: Merentes used to run it and have 20% errors. Now it is Jesse Chacon’s time. The former Minister of Science predicted 110 Deputies and a majority for Chavez. Not bad, less than 15% error, in a military and militaristic world that must be acceptable, in the case of polling and statistics: Fail!

What’s wrong with you: Big Fail!: Datanalisis. If you know that it is hard to predict, why try? But you did. With a huge number of undecided you somehow decided love for Chavismo would prevail and turned a 28% for Chavez to 26% for the opposition poll with 40% undecided into a Chavez victory. Sorry, it just did not work, even if you tried to fix it via Twitter once you knew the oppo had won: Fail!

Not bad, given your imprecision: I always find Schemel of Hinterlaces somewhat vaporous, but he got it mostly right this time around when he predicted an opposition victory with a 34 to 32% advantage. Not bad, you have been wrong before, but you get a gold star this time.

Best in category: Consultores XXI. Time and time again, they get it right (Except the 2004 recall vote where they were calling for a small victory by Chavismo, funny no?). They said 62% for Chavismo in 1998 and 2000, but even Chavistas don’t listen to them. But they did it again, This analysis of the effect of abstention nailed it on the head and that was a key factor:

But it is clear Daniel and Quico/Juan, without the resources and just good old fashioned thinking, do a much better job.

Andreina asks Chávez simple question, gets insulted, he never answered

September 28, 2010

I have known Andreina since the early days of blogs when she was a journalism student in Barquisimeto and had this personal blog. The blogging community was so small, we had parties and almost everyone showed up. That was a while back and I was very proud yesterday when I saw the video of her question to Chávez, as a Radio France reporter, and how she stood up for herself, refusing to accept being called ignorant and trying to get an answer that she never got from the autocrat. He also lied about Radio France and today Radio France responds to him

It’s very simple to explain, as El Pais said it this morning, the most populous states with 67% of the population only elect 53% of the Deputies.

In fact, under the old regulations, the opposition would have obtained roughly the same nummber of Deputies as  Chavismo according to El Nacional.

Way to go Andreina!

Venezuelan Opposition Scores Victory in Defeat

September 27, 2010

The Venezuelan opposition scored a big victory, despite its defeat in not having a majority of the National Assembly. The opposition obtained 52.9% of the vote, obtaining 635,000 more votes nationwide than Chavez’ PSUV party. Thus, the opposition not only managed to block Chávez from obtaining a two-thirds majority, its minimum political goal, but also showed how rigged the system is when it obtained a majority of the votes, but only around 40% of the Assembly pending the undecided seats.

The results emphasized how rigged the system is, as the Venezuelan Constitution guarantees in Article 63 the right to proportional representation, but Chavismo, through its control of all powers changed rules and districts in order to insure it could retain control of the national Assembly. These changes were brought to the attention of the Venezuelan Supreme Court who either rejected the cases or has never ruled on them, showing once again, that the rule of law is seriously compromised in Venezuela. The results highlights that Chavez’ “legitimacy” is seriously questioned now, given this victory despite the loss in the popular vote.

The biggest loser in the election was not Chávez, but Henri Falcón, the Governor of Lara State who split from Chávez selling himself as an alternative to Chávez, but who failed to obtain a single seat in the Assembly.

There were some surprises at the regional level, such as the 12 to 1 victory in Zulia State, a victory for that state’s Governor Pablo Perez, as well as surprising victories in Anzoátegui, Sucre and Aragua state in what had been considered Chavismo strongholds. In Caracas’ Capital District, the opposition obtained more votes than Chavismo, but received only 3 out of ten Deputies. Acción Democrática, became the opposition’s largest party, obatining 1.8 million votes nationwide out of the 5.7 million obtained by the MUD parties.

Not having a two thirds majority implies that the Government will now have to sit and negotiate naming Supreme Court Justices, the General Prosecutor, the Comptroller, and the People’s Ombudsman or approve major structural changes in the country’s structures.

But the results do not guarantee that Chávez will stop the pace of his revolution. He has some of the Bills he needs in place to continue forward and he can increase parallel funds to promote his pet projects away from the supervision of the National Assembly. However, the opposition will have a strong and constant presence in the Assembly that will give it visibility going forward.

For Chávez, the results are a warning sign in the face of the 2012 Presidential election. If oil does not increase significantly in the next two years, problems will compound as oil production drops and the lack of investment continues to have important effects on infrastructure. Add crime, inflation and lower imports and the panorama is not easy for the Venezuelan President.

Thus, no spin can change the impact of the opposition victory. No participatory democracy like the Venezuelan one can have the results obtained last night. For once, Chavez’ tricks and treachery show dramatically what he is about and that alone is a huge victory for the opposition.

Election results announced eight hours after polls closed

September 27, 2010

It is 1:56 AM and the Electoral Board, the CNE has just announced the first results, here is what they said (as much as I can remember) and my instant analysis. I am having problems with Cantv, hope the post goes thru, Mud is the opposition, Psuv is Chavez’ party:

66.45 % of the people voted

Amazonas 67.92% vote list one for PPT one for PSUV one for PPT

Aragua 66.8% Psuv 5 Mud 3

Anzoategui 67.92% Mud 5 Psuv 1

Barinas 66.4% Psuv 5 Mud 1

Bolivar 61.81% Psuv 6 Mud 2

Carabobo 66.28% Psuv 6 Mud 3

Cojedes 64.22% Psuv 3 Mud 1

Delta amacuro 68.13% Psuv 4

Distrito Capital 67.12 Psuv 7 Mud 3

Falcon 64% Psuv 4 Mud 2

Guarico 63.67% Psuv 3

Lara 68.69% Psuv 6 Mud 3

Merida Psuv 4 Mud 2

Miranda 67.45% Psuv 6 Mud 6

Monagas 63.89% Psuv 5 Mud 1

Nueva Esparta 64.92% Mud 3 Psuv 1

Portuguesa 64.5% Psuv 5 Mud 1

Sucre 58.37% Mud 3 Psuv 3

Tachira 70.44% Mud 5 Psuv 1

Trujillo 62.32% Psuv 4 Mud 1

Yaracuy 66.33% Psuv 4 Mud 1

Zulia 69.89% Mud 12 Psuv 3

Vargas 63.87% Psuv 3 Mud 1

I am dead more comments tomorrow

The total gives me 89 for Chavez’ Psuv to 61 for the opposition with four undecided. The opposition stops Chavismo from having 2/3 majority, no info on total votes, looks close based on number of Deputies.

Opposition is saying it got more votes than Chavez’ Psuv party, obtaining 52% of the vote and no more than a possible maximum of 40% of the Deputies. Chavez’ democratic legitimacy in Venezuelan is now in question.

What Caracas Chronicles said near midnight about the popular vote

September 27, 2010

Caracas Chronicles wrote the brief post above, predicting the opposition got more votes than the Government, but Quico forgot to check his bandwidth and there was overload. It was not hacked. His site is not accessible right now, but I had it opened , so here is an image of his site and Juan’s until it gets restored, for those curious about it.

The delay in anouncing the results of the Venezuelan elections is an insult to the voters

September 27, 2010

It is almost 12:39 PM , most polls have been closed for over six and a
half hours and the servile electoral board has yet to announce the
results.

This is a disgrace and an insult to all Venezuelans. With 90% plus of
all tabulated, Venezuela’s $300 million dollar voting system, once
called “the best voting system in the world” has yet to give us a
single result.

Are we to believe that all 165 races are too close to call?

This is absurd, this represents almost $200 per voter, without taking
into account expenses for each election. The Government could buy
everyone an Xbox and we could all vote at once and know the results in
minutes. Or cell phones for that matter.

This is what underdevelopment is all about. We are told nothing, the
system is hailed and we all put up with it.

It’ shameful, it’s a disgrace, it is an insult.

But we put up with it.

A day in the life of an electoral worker in Venezuela

September 25, 2010

Back home sixteen hours after I left. This is the end of this post, now we start the rumors and the wait. That will be the next post. Drinking some wine,  we did a good job, at least there is that satisfaction, thanks all for “watching”

8:05 PM Joy to the world! No audit for me! We now have to sign everything and pack up votes, results and materials and we are done!!!

In my table it is 90% nominal vote for the opposition, this is higher than usual

6 PM it’ closing time, final tally 345 voters 62.18% of those eligible, for the full school the number is higher 64.1%. Order is to shut down if nobody in line. Witnesses walking in now en masse to view audits, 5 out of 8 tables in my center get audits. Hopefully mine does not, very tiring, ready to finish and go. Dont believe rumors, until tables are shut down a real estimate is alnost impossible.

5PM We are at 340, so we will be very close to 65%, 12 more voters in the last hour, some tables in my center have slightly higher percentages, others lower, this is just a little better than the 2009 referendum.

4 PM there has been no real pick up, only ten voters between 3 and 4 PM , we are at exatly 60 % we need to average 27 voters per hour in the last two hours to get to 70% lools tough, but people say it will pick up now based on experience. 328 at this time.

3 PM People clearly having lunch, it slowed down by now, small lines, we even had time to eat something . We are at 318 around 58% so far. Wish I had time to read about the outside world, this is very intense and tiring, but we still have hours to go. Rainibg now hard in Caracas.

2 pm We are up to 293 which means we are over 50% and likely to go into the upper 60’s, better than in 2009

1 pm: First big problem, voting machine jammed voter did not notice, voted twice. Nobody knew exactly what to do. One ballot is dropped in box, a report is written, the lines grows. Bummer. We had been very efficient. 250 voters at this time. That’ like 46% with five hours to go. Hungry!

Noon: we have 214 voters so far, 39% of the total that is about normal for this center. One machine still down , has to be replaced

11:00 AM We are up to 178 at this time, a slight acceleration. The bottleneck now is at the fingerprint machines. Howewer three of the eight machines were jammed when people pulled the ballot and are not working at this time.

10:00 128 about 40 per hour, that’ s 20% so far, 60 %, if lines stay full

9:00 AM so far 88 slow but faster, small lines, my mouth tastes like iodine from the ink.

8:24 am The biggest bottleneck is the machine, people sometimes fail to make all choices, other times they press twice and it erases the vote. Line is not big but once in a while people get confused and gets backed up. Funniest moment was a guy showed up to complain his father reappeared in the electoral registry, he would have been 127 years old. He wanted his protest registered. It was.

8am Still slow 46

7 am 13 voters, slow

6:28 AM we have been ready a while but no voter has been allowed in, some heated discussionson how to manage lines, pro Chavez coordnator wants people to wait outside, we wantthem inside the school. Are they trying to slow down things?

For the time being, I am in charge of ink ugh, fingerprint machine outside not working yet.

6:01 AM All systems and people ready on time we will bring first voter in in minutes

5:50 am machine is ready as you can see below:

I screwed up somewhere erased the post i wrote earlier, it went something like this

5:15 problem solved, we just walked in without waiting for military coordinator

5:10 Military coordinator for center has not arrived, people are mad, they dont let us in, if he does not show up we will have a revolt. People are in line

4:33 being intense i woke up early to blog, adrenaline flowing a bit sleepy right now.

For comparison purposes my center had 33.4% abstention in the 2009 referendum, today there are 546 voters in the “table” I am working in.

All systems set: Vote, Democracy or…else!

September 25, 2010

Since I have to be at the voting center at 5 AM, I better go to bed early, getting up that early is my only objection to being part of the electoral process. But I am as ready as can be.

We are there, ready for the vote. It is really a freakish show in Venezuela when we have elections. First, we have the involvement of the military, a vestige of the times when we had coups and the like. Well, I guess we need them again. Except it is not clear to me what role they play. They are supposed to be “guarding” the schools and the voting material so you have to wonder where they were when four fingerprint machines were stolen at a voting center in Caracas. In my center that would have been quite difficult, go figure. In any case, we used military even in the days we had no machines.

The second quirky thing is that no alcohol is sold anywhere for three days. Yeap, starting yesterday, you could not purchase any liquor at stores, bars or restaurants. Thus, I had to fight my way around people today at the supermarket to buy some soda that I would have normally bought at a liquor store but they were closed. You have to wonder what consuming alcohol yesterday had to do with how you would vote tomorrow. It was nice of the restaurant I went to today for lunch to serve me wine in coffee mugs, they have my loyalty. The food was very good too.

The people at the supermarket is another quirk. They were packed today. It was as if they would not open for days. It is the feeling that “we don’t know what may happen”, but nothing ever happens after elections in Venezuela. In any case, most supermarkets will open tomorrow anyway, so I am not sure what the lady with the two shopping carts was worried about today.

Campaigning has been shut down for three days in another quirky rule: No campaigning after day x. I can understand no campaigning on voting day, but why three days before?

Oh yeah! We close the border tomorrow all day, while voting lasts. Another one I fail to get.

Chavistas have set up posters with crib sheets on how to vote, a block away from all voting centers. Well, why not, the “tarjeton” (ballot) is so complicated you do need a crib sheet:

And this is only ballot #1 for the two nominal Deputies in my district and the list Deputy, there is a second one for the mysterious Parlatino and the indigenous Deputy. (Another quirk, everyone votes for the indigenous “representatives”)

In the one above you have the possibility of voting in three ovals, like for Chavez’ PSUV top, left, where you would vote List, and its two candidates. But, all parties supporting PSUV, like the communist party (PCV), UPV and MEP have separate choices. Thus voting for any of the top four is essentially the same.

The same happens with the unity candidates, whose votes are mostly at the bottom, for example, way at the bottom you have equal votes for MR, Primero Justicia, Causa R and Podemos. They are all the same, but they are all there. No matter which one you choose, it is the Unity list, Maria Corina Machado and Enrique Mendoza. Only some quirky parties like OPINA only have one oval for the list vote, refusing to endorse Maria Corina Machado or Enrique Mendoza, the unity candidates in my circuit.

Why is this so complicated?

Easy, if you want your political party to retain its formal identity with the Electoral Board, you need to obtain a certain percentage of votes or you have to start over and get a petition and file like a new party. It’s a pain to do that in twenty different states.

Who will I vote for? Clearly for the opposition, but likely for Causa R to help them retain their status as a party in my district. They work hard, they may not get the votes to bypass a new registration. Thus my, yes, quirky vote, I like their leaders and style.

So, all systems set to go. We are all ready. I will try to post tomorrow using my phone, hope it does not rain much, it has been raining cats and dogs all day, it would be a pity of results were to be affected by such an external and non-democratic factor.

Posting is quite easy with my cell phone, the problem is that if lines are long and there is crowding I will have no time for it. My voting table has 546 people, if it takes one minute for each voter, assuming everyone goes and vote, it would take close to ten hours for the process to be completed. Except that people tend to go and vote in the morning so it is inevitable that lines will form. Assume 30% abstention, that’s 327 voters, if half decide to go before noon, then that would require more than one voter a minute, with the current system and the number of older people voting, that’s simply impossible at my center, particularly as older people show up very early, clogging the lines.

So, looking forward to the opposition getting 65 Deputies or more. It all depends on abstention, which is the toughest factor to predict in Venezuela. Very low abstention (~15%) favor Chavez, higher level abstention (~30-40%) favors the opposition, even higher levels favor Chavismo again.

For the opposition, blocking Chavez from obtaining a super majority (2/3) is the first task at hand. Not achieving this would be a serious defeat for the opposition. The second task, which would be a very strong victory for the opposition, would be if it obtained 50% of the popular vote, even it that meant only 40% of the Deputies in the Assembly. Beyond that, it would be sweet, but it looks hard to have more Deputies than Chavismo in the Assembly.

Results are very sensitive to the levels of popular vote. If the opposition gets around 47% of the popular vote, it would not reach 33% of the Deputies, if it got near 54% of the vote, it would have a majority of the Deputies in the Assembly. That shows how rigged the system is, a 6% to 7% difference in popular vote, gives a 21% increase in the number of Deputies.

So, good luck tomorrow, hope your lines and the waiting are short and I better go to sleep, it will be a very long day, even if you don’t have to get up before 5AM.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 12,010 other followers