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Venezuela: Official candidates won in all but two states

Editorial - El Universal

01.11.04 - According to preliminary results the National Electoral Council (CNE) published early on Monday, President Hugo Chávez' candidates to governors achieved a landslide victory nationwide, while abstention reportedly exceeded 55 percent.

At 1:00 a.m. on Monday, the National Electoral Council (CNE) published a first report showing the preliminary results of the October 31 regional and local election.

According to the top electoral body's bulletin, President Hugo Chávez' candidates to governors won in all but two Venezuelan states, namely, Zulia State and Nueva Esparta State.

The report, disclosed by CNE president Francisco Carrasquero and the president of the CNE's National Electoral Board, Jorge Rodríguez, indicated that the opposition practically lost the election in all of the states it ruled since 2000.

For instance, in Miranda State, official candidate Diosdado Cabello has reportedly defeated governor Enrique Mendoza, an outstanding opposition leader, with 52.6 percent of the ballots totaled so far. Mendoza obtained just 47 percent of ballots.

According to the CNE, Luis Felipe Acosta Carles (50.4%), the candidate for ruling party MVR, defeated governor Henrique Salas Feo (48.8%)(opposition). In Yaracuy State, Carlos Giménez (49.6%) defeated governor Eduardo Lappi (48.39%)(opposition). In Monagas State, José Gregorio Briceńo (57%) defeated governor Guillermo Call (43%)(opposition), and in Anzoátegui State, Chávez' candidate Tarek William Saab (75%) has reportedly defeated opposition candidate Antonio Barreto Sira (42%). In Bolívar State, Francisco Rangel Gómez (58%), defeated governor Antonio Rojas Suárez (39%)(opposition).

The president of the National Electoral Board claimed that the CNE has published results based on clear trends, but warned that in some cases the advantage is very tight.

Regarding local candidacies, MVR candidate Juan Barreto was elected as the new Mayor of the Caracas Metropolitan Area, with 62 percent of the ballots. President Chávez' candidates were re-elected in the Libertador Municipality of Caracas (Freddy Bernal, with 74 percent) and the Sucre Municipality (José Vicente Rangel Avalos -a son of the Venezuelan Vice President José Vicente Rangel- with 52 percent).

Meanwhile, opposition officials running for re-election in the municipalities of Chacao, Baruta, and El Hatillo (in the Caracas Metropolitan Area) are to remain in office. In Chacao, Leopoldo López obtained 80 percent; in Baruta, Henrique Capriles Radonski obtained 77 percent, and in El Hatillo, Alfredo Catalán received 37 percent of the ballots.

Translated by Maryflor Suárez

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