Monday, December 10, 2007

Chavez fixed election even in loss

Hugo Chavez, the elected president of Venezuela who has subverted the constitution to seize near-total power, lost the election on the measure to give him more power a week ago. Many people are saying the election loss is proof he respects elections. Not so, says Newsweek. The loss was reported as close 51 to 49 per cent. But it wasn't. Chavez lost big. He tried to overturn the results. Surprise! But the military threatened him with a coup if he did. He conceded on the condition that the result be reported as very close to save face for him. Why didn't he demand a recount in this close elections? That does lend credence to what Newsweek forwards from El Nacional.
... by midweek enough information had emerged to conclude that Chávez did, in fact, try to overturn the results. As reported in El Nacional, and confirmed to me by an intelligence source, the Venezuelan military high command virtually threatened him with a coup d'état if he insisted on doing so. Finally, after a late-night phone call from Raúl Isaías Baduel, a budding opposition leader and former Chávez comrade in arms, the president conceded—but with one condition: he demanded his margin of defeat be reduced to a bare minimum in official tallies, so he could save face and appear as a magnanimous democrat in the eyes of the world. So after this purportedly narrow loss Chávez did not even request a recount

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