Venezuela: 37 Parties to Participate in December Elections

The majority of these are opposition parties, which will contest municipal council seats with the Chavista groupings.

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Venezuela’s National Electoral Council has been internationally commended for its labour in organising free and fair elections (Archive)
Venezuela’s National Electoral Council has been internationally commended for its labour in organising free and fair elections (Archive)
By Paul Dobson
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Merida, September 12, 2018 (venezuelanalysis.com) – Venezuela’s National Electoral Council (CNE) has announced that a total of thirty-seven parties are entitled to postulate candidates for the upcoming local council elections, scheduled for December 9 this year.

Despite international claims that only pro-government groupings are permitted to take part, the majority of authorised parties, on a national or regional scale, are anti-government ones.

Eleven national parties which oppose the government, as well as ten which recently backed President Maduro’s May 20 re-election bid, five indigenous parties, and eleven regional parties ─ most of which assume anti-government positions ─ will fight to win seats in the 335 local councils, currently largely controlled by chavista forces.

“37 organisations with political ends will be able to postulate candidates for the Municipal Elections of Dec 9 2018. Of these, 21 are national organisations, 11 are regional organisations, and 5 are indigenous organisations,” tweeted CNE Rector Tania D’Amelio.

Tuesdays declarations follow a review of political organisations’ status, after a number of opposition parties decided to tow Washington’s line and boycott the recent municipal and presidential elections. Those rightist groupings which decided to participate in the democratic contests of December 2017 and May 2018 were ostracized by the US and its allies.

Venezuelan law stipulates that a political party is liable to have its legal status revoked should it fail to participate in two consecutive electoral processes (art 27c), and that it may be subject to a process of renovation by the CNE which includes collecting a sample list of its members’ signatures (art 26).

Four major opposition parties ─ Democratic Action (AD, led by Henry Ramos Allup), Popular Will (VP, led by Leopoldo Lopez and Freddy Guevara), A New Era (UNT, led by Omar Barboza and Manuel Rosales) and First Justice (PJ, led by Julio Borges and Henrique Capriles) ─ will not able to participate in the upcoming elections after failing to undergo the renovation process when recently called upon to do so by the CNE.

Of the national political parties, those opposition groupings which are entitled to take part this December are: COPEI, Movement to Socialism (MAS), Progressive Advance (AP), the Venezuelan Ecological Movement (MOVEV), Popular Political Unity (UPP89), and Change. Some of these parties presented or backed candidates for the May 20 presidential elections, with Henri Falcon of AP being the most prominent of them.

They will be joined by five new anti-government political parties, which are the Force for Change (FDC), Citizens Movement for Change (CMC), Positive Citizens Action (ACEP), Solutions for Venezuela (SPV) and Lapiz.

Confronting them are ten parties of the government-backing alliance: United Socialist Party (PSUV), Communist Party (PCV), Tupamaro, People’s Electoral Movement (MEP), We Are Venezuela (SV), Authentic Renovating Organisation (ORA), Podemos, Venezuelan Popular Unity (UPV), Alliance for Change Movement (MPAPC), and Homeland for All (PPT).

It is unknown at this point whether anti-government parties will present unified lists of candidates, given recent in-fighting and splits within their ranks. Likewise, non-governing parties within the pro-government alliance, which unanimously supported the candidacy of President Maduro in May and historically achieve a significant level of consensus on candidates with the PSUV, have been increasingly critical of the government’s policies in recent months and may look to field more of their own candidates. Negotiations on joint candidates are currently being held.

Online postulations for the upcoming local elections are now open in Venezuela and will last until September 19. These elections will be the 25th popular consultation since 1999, the second this year, and the fifth in 18 months since July 2017.

President Maduro has ordered the CNE to once again “bring international observers from across the globe” in December to validate the electoral process, which has frequently been described by electoral accompaniment missions as one of the most sophisticated in the world.