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Venezuelan Communist Party to Run 4 Candidates against PSUV in State Elections

Merida, October 16th 2012 (Venezuelanalysis.com) – The general secretary of the Communist Party of Venezuela (PCV), Oscar Figuera, said his party rejected four of the candidates postulated by the United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV) for the 16 December state governor elections.

Last week PSUV vice-president Diosdado Cabello announced the list of his party’s candidates, hand-picked by President Hugo Chavez and the national executive of the party, for all 23 states.

The political bureau of the PCV is supporting all PSUV postulations, except those in Bolivar, Merida, Amazonas, and Portuguesa states.

“The aim is to strengthen the good decisions and correct any errors... and to allow the advance of the Bolivarian revolution,” Figuera said.

In Bolivar, the PCV says it is not supporting Francisco Rangel, running for the PSUV, due to repeated criticisms of his management. The PCV has instead registered Manuel Arciniega, saying, “He counts on the support of the popular revolutionary bases in Bolivar”.

Rangel has been governor of Bolivar since 2004. He supported the transnational management of Sidor, the now nationalised steel company, and has worked to undermine the Plan Socialist Guayana (PGS) by informally allying himself with bureaucrats and reformists.

Arciniega ran in the previous state elections with the support of the PCV, the Homeland for all (PPT), and the Marxist organisation, the Tupamaros, among others. He came in fourth place, with 4.96% of the overall vote but is said to now have greater support from the Chavista bases.

In Merida the PSUV is running Alexis Ramirez, currently a legislator in the national assembly, young, but relatively unknown. The PCV registered Florencio Porras as their candidate. Porras was governor from 2004 to 2008, and until a few days ago, was a member of the PSUV.

Many revolutionary Meridenians have commented that the choice between the two is a choice “between two bads” and PCV members have also complained that they “weren’t consulted” and that Porras’ candidature “doesn’t come with proposals”.

In the recent presidential elections Merida was one of only two states in which Henrique Capriles received more votes than Hugo Chavez. The opposition candidate in Merida for the state governor election is seen to have less chance of winning however, due to his bad management as mayor of Merida city.

In Amazonas, the PCV is running Jose Gregorio Mirabal, an indigenous representative of the region and a national assembly legislator who is a member of the commission for indigenous peoples. The PSUV is running Nicia Maldonado, who until recently was minister for indigenous affairs. The Front for the People's Struggle for Land has accused Maldonado of “betraying” her “brothers” by accusing a Yukpa leader, Sabino Romero, of murder.

In Portuguesa the PCV is standing Oswaldo Zerpa, current mayor of Unda municipality, against the PSUV’s Wilmar Castro Soteldo. Castro Soteldo is currently governor, has held two ministerial positions, and also participated in the 1992 coup attempt with Chavez.

Zerpa also has the support of the Tupamaro movement, and Franklin Fernandez, secretary of the Tupamaro movement in Portuguesa, said that Zerpa, as mayor, “works hand in hand with the communal councils” while “Soteldo...is an administrative disaster”.

It is possible that one of the contending PCV or PSUV candidates in each of the four states will withdraw before the close of election campaigning in order to avoid a divided vote.

Nominations for candidates ended on Friday, though changes will be allowed until 6 December. Campaigning for state elections begins 1 November and concludes on 13 December at midnight.

The PCV is the second national political force among those who support Chavez. It obtained 482,317 votes in the recent presidential elections (3.29% of the total vote) while the PSUV received 43.01%,  and the PPT, third among those parties support Chavez, got 1.47%.

Published on Oct 16th 2012 at 5.38pm