Venezuelan voters approved yesterday a new (Chavista) constitution by an important margin, less than two years after rejecting a similar one by a very narrow margin. The new constitution only removes term limits on the President, National Assembly, regional legislators, and Governors. This differs with the 2007 proposal, because that constitution also included many Chavista planks, such as a 36-hour workweek, voting age at 16, ending the central bank’s autonomy, administrative reorganization (aimed at strengthening the President’s powers), seven-year presidential term, and so forth. Polls in this campaign were all over the place, from 60% NO to 60% YES. However, exit polls last night all showed a NO victory between 58% and 53%. Early returns (from western states like Zulia, the stronghold of the opposition) even favoured the NO.
However, the CNE was actually quick to post its results up, which indicated a YES victory with around 54%, with a turnout of 67%. In 2007, voters rejected two proposals by a very narrow margin: around 51% NO with 56% turnout. Without further adue, the results.
Before anyone asks, the referendum seems to have been judged as transparent and clean on average. The NO vote is concentrated in the western states, such as Zulia, a stronghold of anti-Chavez opposition. The NO also won in the Caracas suburban state of Miranda, which I believe is the wealthiest state and has the highest HDI of all Venezuelan states. It was also rejected in the insular state of Nueva Esparta, which includes the touristy island of Margarita and other wealthy places.
On a totally unrelated note, those waiting for Sardinian results can wait with me over here. Also a good opportunity to polish up your electoral Italian!