Venezuelan presidential election, 1998


Venezuelan presidential election, 1998

In the December 6, 1998 Venezuelan presidential election, Hugo Chávez was elected to his first term as President of Venezuela with the largest percentage of the popular vote (56.2%) in four decades. He had run on an anti-corruption and anti-poverty platform, condemning the two major parties that had dominated Venezuelan politics since 1958.

Chávez's electoral platform

The Chávez platform comprised three basic pledges.ref|va3 First, Chávez promised that he would begin his presidency by abolishing Venezuela's old political system, "puntofijismo", and opening up political power to independent and third parties. Second, Chávez promised to end corruption. Third, Chávez promised to eradicate poverty in Venezuela.

Chávez condemned the traditional two-party system that had dominated Venezuelan politics from 1958 up until the catastrophic riots and turmoil of 1992–1993. Until then, democratic transfers of power always occurred between the social democratic Acción Democrática and the Christian democratic Comité de Organización Política Electoral Independente (COPEI), which together had garnered more than 90% of the votes in all elections held since 1973. Owing to his leftist agenda, the Chávez candidacy began a remarkable ascent. Chávez registered 30% in polls taken in May 1998; by August he was registering 39%.ref|carter1

Chávez's campaign

After a two-year imprisonment, Chávez was pardoned by President Rafael Caldera in 1994. Upon his release, Chávez immediately reconstituted the MBR-200 as the Fifth Republic Movement (MVR—"Movimiento Quinta República", with the V representing the Roman numeral five). Later, in 1998, Chávez began to campaign for the presidency. In working to gain the trust of voters, Chávez drafted an agenda that drew heavily on his interpretation of Bolivarianism. Chávez thus campaigned on an anti-corruption and anti-poverty platform, while pledging to dismantle "puntofijismo", the traditional two-party patronage system.cite journal
last=Guillermoprieto| first=Alma | year=2005 | title=Don't Cry for Me, Venezuela | journal=New York Review of Books | month=October 6| url=http://www.nybooks.com/articles/18302
] ref|va3

Chávez utilized his charisma and flamboyant public speaking style—noted for its abundance of colloquialisms and ribald manner—on the campaign trail to win the trust and favor of a primarily poor and working class following. By May 1998, Chávez's support had risen to 30% in polls, and by August he was registering 39%. Chávez went on to win the Carter Center-endorsed 1998 presidential election on December 6, 1998 with 56.2% of the vote.Harv|Guillermoprieto|2005] Harv|McCoy|Trinkunas|1999|p=49.]

Results

Chávez won the Carter Center-endorsed election on December 6, 1998 with 56.2% of the vote.

Participation was 63.76% (6,988,291 out of 10,959,530 registered voters)

See also

*Politics of Venezuela
*List of political parties in Venezuela
*Venezuelan presidential election, 2000

References

* [http://www.georgetown.edu/pdba/Elecdata/Venezuela/pre98.html PDBA]
* [http://www.electionguide.org/resultsum/venezuelares3.htm IFES]
* [http://www.venezuelaanalysis.com All About Venezuela's Movement]


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