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News > Latin America

Venezuela Remembers First Electoral Victory Of Hugo Chavez

  • Commander Hugo Chavez (C), Venezuela.

    Commander Hugo Chavez (C), Venezuela. | Photo: Twitter/ @JoseAntonioLo06

Published 6 December 2021

His electoral campaign was based on the proposal of a Constituent Assembly so that the Venezuelans could achieve the instruments requiered to achieve a radical social transformation.

On December 6, 1998, Commander Hugo Chavez won the presidential elections and ended over 40 years of a two-party system through which Venezuelan elites controlled power through the Accion Democratica and Social Christian Party (COPEI) parties.


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In that electoral process, Chavez obtained 56.2 percent of the votes, widely surpassing Henrique Salas (39.9 percent) and Irene Saez (2.8 percent).

The promise of a participatory democracy

When Hugo Chavez was named a presidential candidate for the V Republica Movement (MVR) in 1997, he did not exceed 10 percent of the voting intention. However, this situation changed radically after his tour of cities and towns in the country.

His electoral campaign was based on the proposal of a Constituent Assembly so that the Venezuelan people could achieve the instruments requiered to achieve a radical social transformation. With Chavez, the People rule! This was a slogan that summed up this historical task.

Gradually, thousands of citizens were adhering to the proposal to create a participatory democracy that would replace the formal democracy imposed by the elites through the 1961 constitution. To this was added the broad support for the fight against corruption, inequality and injustice.

A constitution for transformation

On February 2, 1999, Hugo Chavez assumed the presidency of Venezuela with an oath that marked the beginning of a profound process of change:

"I swear before God, I swear before the Homeland, I swear before my people that I will promote the democratic transformations necessary for the new Republic to have an adequate Constitution for the new times. I swear it!"

Chavez then promoted the drafting of a new constitution, which was approved by the Venezuelan people through a popular consultation held on Dec. 15, 1999. The new legal framework allowed the Bolivarian government to redistribute wealth, increase social spending, end illiteracy, and significantly reduce poverty in Venezuela.

Twenty-three years after Chavez's first electoral victory, his ideas continue to inspire and mobilize millions of Venezuelans who support the United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV).


Hugo Chavez
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