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Venezuela

Yearbook 1998

Venezuela. According to Countryaah, military officer Hugo Chávez, candidate for Polo Patriótico, a left-wing alliance with the Movement of Movimiento V República (MVR), won the presidential election on December 6 after leading the polls since March. Chávez, who staged a coup attempt in 1992 and is very unpopular among businessmen and office colleagues, said he would like to continue the previous government's policies broadly, even though he advocated increased investment in social reforms, financed through improved tax burdens.

1998 Venezuela

Chávez's victory was favored by an increasingly bleak economic scenario that seemed to confirm his designation of the "mono-product economy" as the root of Venezuela's social problems. Oil, the country's traditionally leading export commodity, accounts for 80% of export revenue, 24% of GDP and 50% of government revenue. The constantly falling oil prices thus shattered the government's plans for 1998, forcing it to gradually lower its economic targets. On the other hand, the minimum wage was increased by 33% on May 1, which led to redundancies and increased unemployment.

The election also marked a continued distrust and erosion of the traditional bipartisan system with Acción Democrática (AD) and the Comité de Organización Política Electoral Independiente (COPEI), which dominated Venezuela since 1958. The main candidates stood as independent, although some of the candidates those during the course of the election movement allied themselves with the established parties.

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