Caracas, August 20, 2007, (venezuelanalysis.com) – Delegate elections for the founding congress of the United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV) were postponed on Saturday as Venezuelan vice-president Jorge Rodriguez called for a national discussion of President Hugo Chavez’s proposed constitutional reforms. Rodriguez said that the constitutional reform was a priority, but he assured that the process of construction of the PSUV could be carried out in parallel with a debate on the proposed reforms.
The National Promoters Commission of the PSUV also revealed that participation in the assemblies of the PSUV was approximately 16% or 928,000 of the original 5.8 million that signed up to be members of the new party, less than vice-president Rodriguez’s claim last week that 1.6 million people were participating in the weekly assemblies of the PSUV. Maria Angelica Hernandez, a PSUV promoter in the municipality of Guiacaipuro, explained that although they had originally hoped to form 172 battalions of the PSUV in her municipality, this number had been reduced to 72, as some groups had decided to fuse their battalions, “The reality is that many of the people that signed up as aspirants to the PSUV support the process, but are not going to be activists in the battalions.”
National Assembly Deputy Francisco Ameliach, from the “socialist block” of parliamentarians in the National Assembly, reiterated the point that only 16% of those who originally signed up to become members of the new party had participated in the assemblies and suggested that the socialist battalions of the PSUV should be a nucleus for the debate over the constitutional reform and “this would be a motor for driving forward the battalions.”
Participants in a PSUV assembly in Nueva Caracas, which has so far failed to meet the necessary quorum to form a battalion, or elect delegates, told Venezuelanalysis.com that the decision to delay the elections of delegates to the PSUV founding congress was positive as it would give more time for the formation of the battalions as well as political debate and discussion. They also said they believed the proposed constitutional reforms would provide “more popular power, more autonomy and more sovereignty.”
Chavez, together with activists from neighborhood of 23 de Enero participated in his PSUV battalion, named “Cipriano Castro,” on Saturday, saying that for the first time in Venezuela a discussion and debate by thousands of men and women was occurring to build a political party from the bases.
Chavez added that thousands of battalions throughout the country were openly and democratically discussing the constitutional reforms that he presented to the National Assembly last Wednesday. Chavez described the proposed reforms as an “historic landmark” and said that an international media campaign attacking Venezuela and the Bolivarian government had begun.
He also emphasized the democratic character of the proposed reforms, saying they aim “to transfer power to the Venezuelan people.”
“If the people say no, its no,” Chavez continued, affirming that the decision to change the constitution will be determined only by the Venezuelan people through a popular referendum.
The socialist block of parliamentarians also met last week to form an official parliamentary fraction of the PSUV. More than 120 deputies, representing every state, attended the meeting, which made a detailed assessment of the process of forming the PSUV including problems and challenges. Deputy Ameliach was elected head of the parliamentary fraction.
The National Promoters Commission is revising the schedule of the founding congress of the PSUV, originally to be held over a period of three months, from September to December, and will set a new date for delegate elections.