The Venezuelan elections are over, but there are big question marks over Hugo Chavez’s third six-year term as president. Some fear that his big giveaway programmes ahead of the elections could have unwelcome consequences for the economy. There are also serious doubts over the state of his health.

VICTORY for Hugo Chavez in October’s presidential elections, with an 11 per cent winning margin, may have been big by European or US standards, but it was less than half the votes he received in 2006.

And many observers believe his victory relied heavily on massive ‘giveaway’ programmes he introduced six months before the elections, which could ultimately ...

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Dr. Joseph S. Tulchin
If the government wins a lot of the states in the December elections for governors, the move towards greater centralisation will be accelerated. A big win for the opposition, led by Ricardo Capriles Radonski, will slow President Chavez’s plan to accumulate more power in his own hands
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