Venezuela’s opposition has won a stunning victory in the National Assembly, delivering a blow to the ruling Socialists who have controlled the chamber for almost two decades.
Tibisay Lucena, the head of the electoral commission, announced early Monday that Democratic Unity, the opposition coalition, had won 99 seats in the National Assembly. The United Socialist Party won 46; 22 seats were still to be declared, she said.
“We have come with our morality and our ethics to recognize these adverse results, to accept them and to tell our Venezuela, ‘The Constitution and democracy have triumphed,’ ” President Nicolas Maduro said on television, shortly after the results were announced.
Jesús Torrealba, the head of the opposition coalition, said: “Change has started today in Venezuela.”
The opposition’s victory comes 17 years after Hugo Chavez began the Bolivarian Revolution, a series of economic measures that led to what he saw as equitable distribution of Venezuela’s wealth. But the policies had disastrous economic results, including, in recent years, high prices and food shortages. PDVSA, the state-run oil company that was once the pride of Latin America, is now a shell of its former self, and oil production, the country’s main earner, has been in decline for years, and the global decline in oil prices have not helped.