Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez has survived an electoral challenge with flying colors. His party swept 17 of 22 state elections, although the opposition was victorious in several key skirmishes, including the capital state, the mayoralty of Caracas and even Venezuela’s biggest slum, traditionally a Chavez stronghold.
The president declared a victory for his self-styled socialist revolution after his candidates took at least 17 of 22 states up for grabs, a sweep which was especially pronounced in rural areas.
However, two of the most populous and economically important states, Zulia and Miranda, fell to a resurgent opposition and will complicate Chavez’s efforts to turn South America’s oil giant into a socialist beacon.
The opposition also snatched control of Caracas city hall—a big prize—and, in a separate race, it took Petare, the country’s biggest slum, which used to be a bastion of support for the president.