Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez called on his followers to see next Sunday’s legislative election as a “battle” that needs to ensure the government’s majority in the National Assembly.
“We’re soldiers in battle…this is the final offensive”, said the Venezuelan leader.
“Imperial forces in their determination to take control of Venezuela again and make us a colony of the ‘gringos’ have launched a new offensive and are trying to have their lackeys take hold of the National Assembly benches”, added the president.
Quoting Jesus, the national hero Simon Bolívar and Napoleon’s military strategy, Chavez gave instructions to his followers as to how to concentrate voting efforts when going to the ballot next Sunday September 26th..
Contrary to the last legislative election in 2005 when the opposition walked out claiming fraud but giving Chavez an undisputed majority to nationalize and implement other policies of his revolutionary creed, this time they are challenging the leader and his United Socialist party.
The opposition is acting in coordination under the umbrella of the Democratic Unity Table and opinion polls show it is just a few points below the ruling party, given the disenchantment with insecurity, economic recession, rampant inflation and the increasingly authoritarian style of Chavez after eleven years in office.
But the electoral system was gerrymandered and not necessarily the most voted groups will have the highest number of benches.
Besides, in the oil rich country but with an overwhelming majority of people living in poverty, Chavez is seeing as a messiah and can retain a working majority according to most political analysts.
The government needs at least two thirds of the National Assembly, 110 in 165 benches for important legislation such as further nationalizations of measures to reform the state.
Nevertheless Chavez has the option of special decrees to enforce legislation for which he needs the support of three fifths, or 99 benches.
“Nothing less than two thirds in the Assembly”, claims Chavez.
“This is the only way to ensure the continuity of peaceful and democratic transition in our motherland to Socialism; that style of life which will make truth the teachings of our Christ Redeemer and the noble purposes of Simon Bolivar” underlined the controversial leader.
Next Sunday’s election is also seen as a test vote for the presidential ballot in 2012 when Chavez will be running again.