The results are in from Venezuela’s election: Chavez wins, but loses.
That’s not a riddle; let me explain. For quite some time, Hugo Chavez has enjoyed a supermajority in Venezuela’s legislature, which has enabled him to do almost anything he wants there. Although after this election he still holds a majority, he has lost his supermajority. By uniting against Chavez, the opposition managed to thwart him. And this occurred despite the fact that Chavez’s forces had gerrymandered voting districts in their own favor.
Venezuela is hardly out of the woods, though. Chavez will continue to command a large majority for at least five more years, until the next Congressional election. And just as the United States faces a possibly dangerous, power-mad lame duck session between November and January even if Democrats are voted out, so will Chavez enjoy his supermajority in Venezuela’s legislature until the new session is seated in January. An awful lot of damage can be done in that amount of time.