Venezuela’s Socialists Gear Up for Primary Elections Ahead of Regional Vote

The primary elections are being viewed by the party leadership as part of an effort to reinvigorate the grassroots.

Mexico City, Mexico, June 30, 2021 (venezuelanalysis.com) – The ruling United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV) held the first step of its primary election Sunday by selecting candidates for the November 21 regional and local elections.

Members of the country’s largest party took part in local assemblies known as Bolívar Chávez Battle Units (UBCh) to discuss and select their candidates for various positions up for grabs, including 23 governorships and 335 municipalities, as well as representatives for regional and local legislative chambers. More than 60,000 people were chosen as primary pre-candidates according to party officials.

The winners of this first stage will now be vetted by the PSUV before running in a subsequent primary process on August 8. The final results have yet to be announced by the PSUV, with a number of local UBChs denouncing irregularities in the process. The ruling party will also make room for candidates from other parties that form part of the Great Patriotic Pole (GPP), a coalition of pro-government parties and movements that run on a joint ticket in elections.

The primary elections are being viewed by the party leadership as part of an effort to reinvigorate the grassroots, affording them the space to directly choose candidates, a departure from the opaque, top-down process used by the party in recent elections.

“It’s a decision that aims at democratization, re-politicization and reunification around authentic leadership,” said high-ranking PSUV party member Elías Jaua.

PSUV Territorial Vice-President and Miranda State governor Héctor Rodríguez praised the participation of the party’s membership.

“There was extraordinary participation for the nominations of pre-candidates for governorships, mayoralties and legislative councils in the primary elections of the United Socialist Party of Venezuela. It was an exercise of participatory and protagonist democracy,” Rodríguez told reporters.

Venezuela’s Constitution mandates that regional and municipal authorities be renewed this year, and the November 21 “mega-elections” will be the 26th electoral process since 1998.

Edited by Ricardo Vaz from Mérida.