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Opposition Candidate Manuel Rosales Outlines His Plan for Government

Caracas, Venezuelan, October 30, 2006 ( - Manuel Rosales, the opposition candidate for the Venezuelan presidential elections on December 3, presented his plan for government last week.  He is proposing a program he says will produce a “new social democracy” in Venezuela, which will be a fairer and more equal society. 

Rosales divided his plan into 5 different policy areas.  These are political-institutional, social, economic, foreign and environmental policy.  In the political-institutional field he promised to reform the National Assembly incorporating a system of proportional representation, so deputies from minority parties would have a voice in the body.  He also plans to reduce the presidential term from 6 to 4 years with only one re-election permitted for any president.

He said the proportional representation was the “essence of a democratic system”, and added that, “from there we will advance in the transformation of powers in Venezuela, in their autonomy, so that nobody has doubts about the public ministry, about the judicial power, electoral power and the rights of the people”.  Regarding the reduction of the presidential term he said that, “Eight years of governing is sufficient for a government to complete its programs and proposals.”

If he is elected, Rosales said his social policy would be carried out with the aim of providing Venezuelans with the physical and intellectual capacity to overcome their poverty.  This will require the integration of health, social security, housing, personal security, culture and sport.

His economic policy will be based on respect of private property, which will act as a stimulus for private investment and will promote a strong industrial policy to develop the electricity, agricultural, gas & petroleum and tourist industries.

He was equally vague about his foreign policy proposals saying that he would consider Venezuela’s involvement in all “international schemes” but would not enter into anything that would, “damage our country, or that brings us close to terrorism of the axis of evil”, he said.

Finally, he said he wanted to preserve the environment through policies that, “will concentrate our effort on improving the environment, whether it is water, air, or waste disposal.  We will apply strict policies to manage the mining areas and in the protection of the national parks, which we will carry out with the promotion of ecotourism”.

His campaign manager, Teodoro Petkoff, praised Rosales for providing a solid set of policies that give Venezuelans a clear choice on December 3, “One of the distinct aspects in the campaign of the democratic leader [Rosales] is that it is not a campaign of empty slogans or a campaign of “Out with Chávez”, he has said “Here I am” and “Here is what I will do in government”, said Petkoff.

However, the Vic-President of the National Assembly, Desirée Santos Amaral says his policy of creating a new parliament was tinted with hints of a “coup”.

This may point to a strong criticism of Rosales which damages his democratic credentials.  In 2002 President Chávez was briefly overthrown in a coup.  The following day those involved signed the infamous Carmona Decree which dissolved the National Assembly and the Supreme Court.  Rosales was one of the signatories to the decree and although he maintains this was an “honest mistake” and that he had the “good of the country” in mind, he remains tainted by his actions.

Rosales remains way behind in the polls, most of those carried, put him at least 30 points behind President Chávez.

Published on Oct 30th 2006 at 9.14pm