Quote of the week

[Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro] possesses, however, few of his predecessor’s resources, lacking not just oil revenue but Chávez’s surplus of charisma, humour and political skill. Maduro, unable to end the crisis, has increasingly sided with the privileged classes against the masses; his security forces are regularly dispatched into barrios to repress militants under the guise of fighting crime. Having lost its majority in Congress, the government, fearing it can’t win at the polls the way Chávez did, cancelled gubernatorial elections that had been set for December last year (though they now appear to be on again). Maduro has convened an assembly to write a new constitution, supposedly with the objective of institutionalising the power of social movements, though it is unlikely to lessen the country’s polarisation.

Greg Grandin
London Review of Books
19 May 2011

Election results update

Watching the SABC and ETV coverage of the election results is a bit like trying to watch a rugby game blindfolded with very loud and drunk spectatiors sitting all around you. There is a lot of noise but one is not able to gather much hard information from this exercise. And if one analyst or presenter says “It’s early days yet,” I am going to scream.

The leaderboard at the IEC results centre also provides utterly meaningless statistics because one does not know which wards or municipalities have reported their results, whether more results have come in from traditionally DA than ANC strongholds and which province has reported the largest percentage of those results so far. Idiotic. 

In any case, this is a local government election, so what happens in each Metro and in each town is far more important than the overall vote tallies for the parties. If one wants to get real information one must go to the Internet. Unfortunately the Electoral Commission site is outdated and is far too complicated to use and unless one is a serious number crunching geek it does not seem of much use.

News24 has probably the best and easiest to use page. It contains a map with both 20o6 and 2011 results, which gives one a far better picture of what is going on than the TV reports. Otherwise, for those on Twitter, it is very useful to search for #LGEResults or #LGER2011 and follow those feeds. From what I gather from my sources the DA did very well in Cape Town and will win in a landslide, while the ANC probably did better than expected in Johannesburg. (And, no, I am not going to caution that it is early days yet.)

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