* Declares socialism only answer to Venezuela's problems
* Dismisses opposition glee as "15 minutes of drunkenness"
By Daniel Trotta
CARACAS (Reuters) - Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez
vowed to "radicalize" his socialist revolution even further
after legislative elections that gave the opposition one of its
strongest showings during his more than 11 years in power.
Chavez's ruling Socialist Party won last weekend's vote by
a slim margin, taking 5.45 million votes or 48.9 percent
compared with 5.33 million votes or 47.9 percent for the newly
united Democratic Unity umbrella group.
The result lifted the optimism of the opposition, which now
sees a chance to unseat Chavez in 2012 presidential elections.
Investors and analysts are waiting to see the reaction of a
man who has in the past come out of elections by nationalizing
swathes of industry and attacking private capital.
"We are going to continue forward, democratically
radicalizing the socialist revolution because it is necessary,"
Chavez said late Saturday to a television audience.
He dismissed the opposition celebration of a moral victory
as "15 minutes of drunkenness."
Despite their thin overall vote advantage, the Socialists
took a healthy majority in the National Assembly -- 97 seats
compared to 65 for Democratic Unity. But the ruling party fell
short of the two-thirds needed to pass major legislation and
make appointments to key bodies such as the Supreme Court.
"Only through socialism will we get out of misery. I am
dedicated to and decided on deepening the socialist and
Bolivarian revolution," Chavez added Sunday in comments
posted on Twitter, referring to Latin American independence
leader Simon Bolivar.
He offered no details of what that would entail but he was
pointedly critical of food warehouses that are still in private
hands, saying that instead of being full of food they contained
beer, rum, clothing and other products.
Venezuela-watchers have wondered what areas of the private
sector Chavez might target next, with most speculation
concentrated on greater control of the food, agricultural or
The election results came as Venezuela's oil-rich economy
continues to shrink while most others in Latin American have
been recovering from the global economic crisis of 2008 and
2009. Inflation is running at nearly 30 percent annually.
(Additional reporting by Deisy Buitrago; Editing by Andrew
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