One key piece of data that I missed last night is the response of National Assembly leader Diosdado Cabello (pictured above), who tweeted the following last night:
Profunda autocrítica nos obligan estos resultados, es contradictorio que sectores del Pueblo pobre voten por sus explotadores de siempre.
Deep self-criticism obliges us to note these results, and it’s contradictory that sectors of the poorest people have voted for their exploiters.
Cabello is the behind-the-scenes pragmatic bulldog of chavismo and he’s clearly the most relevant political leader within chavismo after the newly declared president-elect Nicolás Maduro. Given the narrow victory that Maduro won, he may well now be chavismo‘s most relevant political leader.
That makes his rather subdued statement an important touchstone for where Venezuela’s ruling part is headed, and it’s somewhat more subtle than the full-speed-ahead, at-full-volume victory speech that Maduro delivered Sunday night.
Some background: he served as the governor of Miranda state from 2004 to 2008 — opposition candidate Henrique Capriles got his start in national politics in 2008 when he ousted Cabello by a seven-point margin to become the governor of Miranda.
Cabello has since 2012 been the president of Venezuela’s Asamblea Nacional (National Assembly), where the Partido Socialista Unido de Venezuela (PSUV, or United Socialist Party of Venezuela) and its allies control 96 seats to just 65 for the opposition.
If Maduro’s victory is not overturned following an audit of the election results, the next electoral test for chavismo will come in December 2015, when Venezuela holds its next scheduled parliamentary elections, and it seems fairly possible that Cabello and the PSUV could lose their majority.