Maduro blames ‘economic war’ for loss of majority government

For the first time in 17 years, Venezuela’s opposition party claimed a majority position in the National Assembly.

Results from the election, held Sunday, indicate that the Democratic Unity Roundtable (Mesa de la Unidad Democratica, or MUD) Party claimed 99 seats, compared to just 46 for the United Social Party of Venezuela (PSUV). Twenty-two legislative seats remain undefined because the races are too close to call, reports BBC.

“It’s a historic victory, now begins the time for change in Venezuela!” said MUD Executive Secretary Jesus Torrealba to supporters at a victory rally in Caracas.

Torrealba said the opposition would seek to modify Central Bank law in order to stop the rapid printing of money that has driven the world’s highest rate of inflation, reports Reuters. The opposition party has also promised to roll back nationalization and to help stimulate the private sector.

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President Nicolas Maduro publically accepted the results of the election, signaling a peaceful change of power in the National Assembly, but said he would continue the mission of the late Hugo Chavez. Maduro blamed the loss on “the economic war” waged by political interests both inside and outside the country.

Venezuela continues to struggle

The economic path ahead of Venezuela continues to look more treacherous as oil prices fell further today. 95% of the country’s export earnings and 25% of its GDP come from oil, making Venezuela highly susceptible to lower commodity prices.

As a member of OPEC, Venezuela worked to build support for setting a price floor ahead of the group’s December 4 meeting.  While at the bi-annual meeting in Vienna, Venezuela’s OPEC representatives called for a policy of reducing the group’s production ceiling by 5% in order to boost oil prices.

Instead of reducing its production ceiling, or raising it to match actual production, OPEC decided to remove its production quota entirely last week. Analysts saw the decision as a clear signal of the end of the cartel, and United Arab Emirates Minister Suhail Al Mazrouei said the “time has passed” for returning to that model.


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