The beginning of the end for Chavismo?

Venezuela’s opposition has won a landslide victory and may push to unseat the president, Nicolás Maduro.

Venezuela's opposition has won a landslide victory, unseatingthe ruling socialist party for the first time in 16 years.An alliance of opposition parties took 107 seats in the country'sNational Assembly in elections on Sunday, equal to a so-called"supermajority" of 64%. The ruling party held just 55 seats.

With a majority of over 60%, the alliance now has the powerto change the constitution and may even push to unseat thepresident, Nicols Maduro, the handpicked successor to formerpresident Hugo Chvez. "Change has started in Venezuela,"opposition leader Jesus Torrealba told a press conference.

"It isn't every day that a police state takes such a beatingat the polls," says Kejal Vyas in The Wall Street Journal.Turning around Venezuela's economy, however, looksnigh on impossible. The country is suffering from foodshortages, double-digit inflation and a collapse in the bolivar,accompanied by a sharp rise in the murder rate. According tothe International Monetary Fund, Venezuela's economy willshrink by at least 10% this year.

President Maduro's populistpolicies, including four minimum wage hikes in the last year,have helped to stoke inflation, but will be politically difficultto reverse. And for now, the military is also tacitly backingMaduro, who retains "a near-complete grip on all otherbranches of government", says The Washington Post, includingthe supreme court, which is packed with his appointees.

Lifting food price controls, releasing political prisonersand easing capital controls are all now on the agenda, but"winning the election may have been the easy part", says Vyas."Breathing life into the economy will be no small feat."

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