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6,465 Venezuelans to Run in National Assembly Elections

Mérida, June 7th 2010 (Venezuelanalysis.com) – The National Electoral Council of Venezuela (CNE) reported yesterday that 6,465 people have registered to run in the elections in September, for 165 positions in the National Assembly as well as 12 positions in the Latin American Parliament. The United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV) began organising for the elections on Saturday, swearing in 2,400 campaign leaders.

Registrations for candidates closed on Saturday at midnight and voting regulations give the regional electoral centres of the CNE five more days to accept or reject any nominations.

Of the 165 legislator positions, 110 are “nominal” or individual name-based positions. Voters elect a representative in their “circuit” or district. There were 5,245 nominations in this category.

Fifty-two positions are list-based, proportional voting on a state level in which voters vote for a list of candidates from a party or organisation, and not individual names. For this, the CNE received a total of 1,132 nominations.

There were 34 nominations for the three indigenous legislator positions, which the 1999 constitution established to ensure indigenous representation. And, there were 54 nominations for the 12 legislators in the Latin American Parliament, a regional and permanent integration organisation in which each of the 22 member countries sends 12 people who must represent the views of their home parliament. Eleven of the Venezuelan representatives in the Latin American Parliament are elected according to “list” voting, and one is an indigenous representative.

PSUV Election Campaign

On Saturday, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez swore in the 2,400 campaign coordinators of “Batalla Bolivar 200” (Bolivar Battle 200), the PSUV’s campaign for the September 26 National Assembly elections, named after liberation leader Simon Bolivar. The number represents 200 years since the start of Venezuelan independence.

The PSUV’s campaign slogan will be, “A la asamblea vamos con todo” (To the assembly, let’s give it all we’ve got), a similar slogan to what it used in the 2008 regional elections.

The electoral campaign strategy is similar to what the PSUV has used in the past, with a campaign unit for every electoral centre, as well as a “patrol” for every voting booth.

Both Chavez, who is the party president, and Aristobulo Isturiz, who is the national head of the campaign and also a candidate in the elections, said that there will be 36,600 such patrols around the country. Each patrol should have around 50 members, which will then go on an offensive to obtain 10 voters each from their community. There are also 24 state level campaign units and 87 electoral circuit campaign units.

“26 September must be an admirable day,” Chavez said at the swearing in, referring to Simon Bolivar’s “Admirable Campaign,” a military action during Venezuela’s war for independence. “The result should be admirable... the National Assembly has to continue being revolutionary, we can’t allow a result of less than two thirds of [legislator positions] in the Assembly,” he said.

Over the last few weeks the PSUV has also gone on a membership campaign, joining 261,000 new members, for a total of 7.3 million registered members, said PSUV National Finances Coordinator Yelitze Santaella during a press conference today.

On 2 May over 2.5 million PSUV members voted in the party’s internal candidate elections, choosing among over 3,500 nominees for the 110 nominal candidates and their 110 alternates. National party leaders in consultation with Chavez chose the state-based lists.

It was the first time in Venezuelan history that such broad internal elections took place in any political party. Even so, the elections were somewhat marred by accusations that top party bureaucrats wielded their power to campaign for candidates who were not in touch with the party base.

On April 25 the opposition also held primary elections, but with a lower participation of around 300,000 voters and in only 15 of the 87 electoral circuits.

The right-wing opposition boycotted the last National Assembly elections in 2005, as they faced an impending defeat due to their failed attempt to overthrow the democratically elected Chavez in a military coup d’état in 2002.

Published on Jun 7th 2010 at 7.57pm