2015 Venezuelan parliamentary election

Venezuelan parliamentary election, 2015

← 20106 December 2015Next →

All 167 seats in the National Assembly[1]
84 seats needed for a majority
Turnout74.17%
 First partySecond party
 Henry Ramos Allup Portrait.jpgDiosdado Cabello 2013.jpg
LeaderHenry Ramos AllupDiosdado Cabello
PartyADPSUV
AllianceMUDGPP
Leader since2014[2]2008
Leader's seatCapital DistrictMonagas
Last election64 seats, 47.2%99 seats, 48.2%
Seats won109[3]55[3]
Seat changeIncrease 45Decrease 41
Popular vote7,728,0255,625,248
Percentage56.2%40.9%
SwingIncrease 9.0 ppDecrease 7.3 pp

Venezuela2015bycircuit.png
Results by electoral districts. Blue denotes districts won by the MUD,Red denotes those won by the PSUV.

President of the NA before election

Diosdado Cabello
PSUV

President of the NA

Henry Ramos Allup[4]
AD

Parliamentary elections were held in Venezuela on 6 December 2015 to elect the 164 deputies and three indigenous representatives of the National Assembly. They were the fourth parliamentary elections to take place after the 1999 constitution, which abolished the bicameral system in favour of a unicameral parliament, and the first to take place after the death of President Hugo Chávez. Despite claims from the opposition of a possible last-minute cancellation, the elections took place as scheduled, with the majority of polls showing the Democratic Unity Roundtable (MUD) holding a wide lead over the ruling United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV) and its wider alliance, the Great Patriotic Pole (GPP).

The political landscape leading up to the elections was heavily influenced by the severe economic crisis faced by the country, as well as a series of protests that took place in 2014, after which former Chacao mayor and leader of Popular Will, Leopoldo López, was detained and sentenced to 14 years in prison. The scarcity of basic goods and high inflation were the central topics of discussion, with each party blaming their opponent as the cause. Introducing economic policies to counter the crisis, as well as granting amnesty to political prisoners, was the main campaign pledge of the MUD. The ruling PSUV, on the other hand, ran a campaign focused on overcoming what they called an "economic war" led by the right-wing against the Venezuelan people, as well as defending the legacy of Chávez and the social policies introduced during his presidency.

The result was a decisive defeat for the PSUV, which lost control of the Assembly for the first time since 1999. The MUD, composed of politicians opposed to the government of both Chávez and his successor, won 109 seats, and with the support of the three indigenous representatives, gained a supermajority of 112 seats against 55 won by the GPP. In terms of popular vote, the MUD received 7.7 million votes, an increase of 2.4 million from the 2010 elections, becoming the most voted party in Venezuelan electoral history. In comparison, the GPP only managed to gain an additional 200,000 votes.

Background

Since the 1999 Constitutional Assembly elections, the National Assembly was dominated by alliances supportive of President Hugo Chávez. In the 2005 parliamentary elections, most opposition parties decided to withdraw, resulting in all seats being won by the Fifth Republic Movement and other parties supportive of Chávez. For the 2010 elections, an alliance of opposition parties was formed by the Democratic Unity Roundtable to contest the elections, and managed to win 64 seats. The PSUV, which was an alliance formed by Chávez from the Fifth Republic Movement and a number of smaller parties, won 96 seats, maintaining their majority, but lost their two-thirds and three-fifths supermajority. Fatherland for All, a small left-wing party, won two seats.[5] After Chávez's death in 2013, his hand-picked successor Maduro was narrowly elected president, continuing Chávez' ideological influence.[6] In 2015, the Democratic Unity Roundtable alliance aimed to improve its result from last time and end the incumbent PSUV government,[7] while Maduro said he had faith in the voters giving the government a large majority.[8]

Protests

In 2014, a series of protests and demonstrations began in Venezuela. The protests have been attributed to inflation, violence and shortages in Venezuela. The protests have been largely peaceful,[9] though some have escalated and resulted in violence from both protesters and government forces. The government has accused the protests of being motivated by 'fascists' opposition leaders, capitalism and foreign influence,[10] and has itself been accused of censorship, supporting groups called colectivos using violence against protesters and politically motivated arrests.[11]