A POLITICAL storm is certain to sweep Venezuela after the main opposition party won a landslide victory in parliamentary elections on December 6.
Latest results indicate that the centre-right Democratic Unity Roundtable (MUD) had won 99 of a total of 167 seats in the national assembly compared to 46 for President Nicolás Maduro´s ruling socialist party.
The victory marks a significant blow to the socialist project started 17 years ago by former president Hugo Chavez which has since dominated the Venezuelan political scene.
“Venezuela wanted a change and today that change has begun,” said Jesus Torrealba, leader of the MUD coalition.
Maduro meanwhile acknowledged the result but remained defiant “We have lost a battle today but now is when the fight for socialism begins,” he said addressing his supporters.
With 22 seats remaining undeclared, the MUD is hoping to secure the 113 seats required to possess the critical two-thirds majority needed to initiate wide spread constitutional reform.
The oil-rich country has been reeling from skyrocketing prices, a shortage of essential goods, and an upsurge in violent crime that has seen Maduro´s approval rate plummet in stark contrast to the late Chavez who enjoyed a cult-like following.
The result will also reverberate around Latin America which has seen a great deal of left-wing political success since the Chavez years, with Venezuela a leading light for the continent´s socialist movements.