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PSUV Announces Candidates for Venezuelan Regional Elections, Some Criticism

Caracas, October 11th 2012 (Venezuelanalysis.com) – Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez's political party, the United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV), has announced its 23 candidates for the up and coming state governor elections, due to be held on 16 December.

The nominations were officially announced in a live press-conference by PSUV Vice-president Diosdado Cabello and include 9 current PSUV governors and 3 government ministers, including Minister of Justice and Domestic Affairs, Tareck El-Aissami, who will stand in Aragua and Indigenous Affairs Minister, Nicia Maldonado, who will stand in Amazonas. Current Minister of Communes and Popular Power, Isis Ochoa, will stand in Lara.

Before making the announcements Cabello stated that “this might not satisfy some sectors, but there it is. Here are the names that we are putting forward for this struggle”.

Whilst the PSUV incumbents in some states such as Falcon's Stella Lugo and Bolivar state's Rangel Gomez will be candidates again this time round, other states will witness new contenders.

One of the main reshuffles of the Chavez government was the replacement of current Vice-President of Venezuela, Elias Jaua, by Foreign Affairs Minister, Nicolas Maduro, who will take up the vice-presidency as of next week.

Jaua will now stand for governor of Miranda state, currently held by former opposition contender for the presidency, Capriles Radonski. Capriles lost to Chavez in last Sunday's presidential elections by 11.11% and will stand again for the state governor position.

Registering his candidacy for the state earlier today, Capriles stated that the opposition had “lost one match, but for the next match, everyone can be clear that the deceitful and cunning (government) will not be returning to Miranda”.

Although Chavez won a majority in 22 out of Venezuela's 24 regional states in the presidential elections, including Miranda, the contest for some state governor positions is expected to be tightly fought, with various states only secured by a small margin. In the 2008 regional state elections the PSUV won 17 of the 22 governorships up for election that year.

Both the government and the opposition have received some criticism for their nominations, with Venezuelan news site YVKE reporting that Capriles has registered as the candidate for Miranda in spite of the fact that the MUD's official primary elections in February saw Carlos Oscariz nominated for the post. Some Chavez supporters have also reacted negatively to the PSUV’s selections.

“The big question is what the hell do we do with these candidates for provincial government,” said Caracas-based community activist, Gustavo Borges, on a social networking site.

“Do we block them, do we vote for them, do we get mad, do we keep the (electoral) map “red, very red”, do we fold our arms, or keep fighting?” he continued.

Similar reactions were also posted on the “revolutionary women with Chavez” facebook page. “In Bolivar they have to review Henry Rangel Gomez, the Chavista working class are not happy with him at all,” said one man on the page.

Rangel Gomez has been subject to criticism from many workers' collectives in the industrial Guayana region, who accuse him of trying to sabotage projects aimed at implementing workers control. Andres Velasquez of the “Radical Cause Party,” (LCR) which enjoyed substantial working class support in the Guayana region in the 1980s will also stand in Bolivar, where he previously served as governor in 1989. The LCR is currently allied with the Venezuelan opposition.

Many people on the Facebook forum also exhorted other members to vote for the “people’s candidates” on the day and not for “personal tastes,” but other remain unconvinced. Several said that they trusted Chavez's judgement.

“If the commander decided to put them there then he will evaluate our political strategy, but as we should be self-critical I think that the revolutionary people should throw themselves into voting for these candidates in the same way as they did for the presidential elections. The problem will be the mayoralties, there isn't good local management. We have to give more power to the people and not sabotage ourselves,” said another woman.

The pro-government coalition of political parties and social movements, the Great Patriotic Pole (GPP), has taken a mixed reaction to the PSUV’s nominations, supporting some, and having reservations about others. According to a representative of the Venezuelan Communist Party (PCV), Yul Jabour, the PSUV took into account a list of GPP suggestions of possible state governor candidates for some, but not all, of its nominations.

Earlier today, National Electoral Council (CNE) chancellor, Tania D'Amelio, confirmed that campaigning for the regional elections will begin as of 1 November. She also stated that Venezuelans living abroad would not be eligible to vote in the regional elections.

The Venezuelan people will choose 23 representatives for regional state governors and 233 representatives for local legislative positions in the elections. Candidates have until October 12 to register.

Published on Oct 12th 2012 at 9.52am