Maria Corina wins Baruta as Primero Justicia loses it

The primary results are in, by 10 PM, faster than what the CNE ever gave them, with 98% of the votes counted (we are still waiting for the CNE 2007 final count...).  A quick round up:

  • Participation was low but in the range of what you expect a primary election to be, the more so in the country of the Tascon List (see at the bottom of this blog if you do not know what that is).  In Baruta/Chacao/El-Hatillo district where the opposition votes more than 80% against Chavez with an abstention in the 40%, the participation, factoring out the meager chavista vote was about 25%.  True, chavismo is going to try to paint this as a major failure but who in his right mind thinks that the 75% that did not vote today are going to vote for the chavista candidate in September?  At any rate, it is an argument that chavismo might want to use carefully before it knows the results of its own primary which, rumor has it, will not even count its ballots at the table but at PSUV central, with the candidates having to wait for someone to let them know whether they won....  talk about incentive in voting in running.
  • Participation in Lara seems to have been low, a possible indication that everybody there knows that the real contest is between Falcon and Chavez and that outside of Palavecino district there is no hope for the opposition.
  • It was low for Carabobo but that is mostly due to the decomposition of Proyecto Venezuela leaving people in waiting of the replacement to come.  I venture to say that people are not quite aware yet that primaries is a good way to regenerate the body politic.  The 61% victory of Cocchiola in Valencia, who was undercut in his 2008 mayor bid by the vindictiveness of Proyecto Venezuela is sweet for me and confirms that PVZL is in trouble and had better shape up fast.
  • The projection pie I gave yesterday does not really change as I made it in function of likely seats to be won, regardless of primaries been held.
Conclusion: all in all it went fairly well and thus I am sure that tonight a few within the MUD must regret that they did not include a few more primaries in their original plan.  While a few resurrected fossils are breathing a sight of relief that they did not have to go through a primary.

Let's just think for a moment if instead of 22 jubilant winners we would have been watching tonight about 40.... at least one in every state....

Interesting fact.  Maria Corina Machado won with 50% of the vote.  A clear cut victory, no appeal, from the safest opposition district and the one that voted the most today.  And a serious set back for Primero Justicia who was considering the district as its national bastion.  It will be fascinating to write the story on how Primero Justicia blew away its strength there.  True, that its main contender for the 2008 Baruta mayor was barred from running allowed UNT's Blyde sweep in easily.  But the errors of PJ predate that election and the victory of Machado running as an independent with the support of UNT and AD shows that the ground have shifted decisively against Primero Justicia there.

The first blow was the division of PJ, which resulted in two of its brightest stars, Lopez and Blyde, move to UNT.  Then Leopoldo Lopez did its own movement and managed to retain Chacao mayor away from PJ while Blyde got, in large aprt in luck, Baruta.  Amazingly PJ failed to take El Hatillo where it was the main force in the municipal council.  thus PJ who should normally controlled 4 out of 5 Caracas districts now has only the Petare/Sucre one.

PJ is duly pissed off and one of its boss, Miranda governor Capriles, demands that the  the substitute of Simonovis, one of the political prisoners be elected, probably putting in a PJ guy.  In fact already tonight there was a rumor that Vecchio, runner up of Machado, should be given that choice spot. See, Simonovis is in jail and will not be released even if he wins.  Thus the substitute automatically becomes the representative of Baruta, at least until an amnesty law is enacted.

It seems to me that a certain electoral rapprochement is taking place between Leopoldo Lopez and his former mates of Primero Justicia is taking place.  Today at their voting station my parents were surprised to see Vecchio saying hi! to everyone in line accompanied by PJ Uzcategui......  the sad truth is that since Leopoldo went his way neither him nor PJ have grown as one would have expected to grow, considering the way they grew in the early Chavez years.  UNT might be plodding on its own, but tonight it took a choice plum out of PJ.  With Blyde as mayor and Machado as representative, it is going to be a while until PJ recovers its former heartland.