Mérida, October 22, 2007 (venezuelanalysis.com)-
Delegates were elected from across the country on Saturday for the founding
congress of the new United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV). Venezuelan
President Hugo Chavez applauded the elections and stated that more than 1,500
delegates were elected to represent more than 90 percent of the community assemblies.
During a televised statement on Sunday, the Venezuelan president spoke about
the PSUV electoral process that took place last Saturday. Chavez called the
elections an "extraordinary success" and congratulated the members of
"I congratulate them, and I have faith that it will be the great people's
party of the revolution that is born from the grassroots. A party of the
masses, a socialist party, with its own identity and its own ideology,"
President Chavez had summoned his followers to unite to form the socialist
party as a way to solidify the various political sectors that support the
Bolivarian Revolution. As a result, many of the more than 20 political parties
that backed Chavez in the presidential elections agreed to join together to
form the PSUV. Some, however, including the Communist Party of Venezuela (PCV),
the social-democratic party PODEMOS, and the party PPT have not yet agreed to
Some six million Venezuelans registered to be members of the new United Socialist
Party of Venezuela earlier this year, but of the six million who registered,
only around 1.5 million have been actively involved in the preparatory
community meetings around the country that are meant to construct the party
from the bottom up.
Chavez has stressed that one of the most important characteristics of the new
PSUV party is that it is being formed from the grassroots of society through
popular participation, unlike previous political parties that were formed from
political agreements at the top. As a part of the formation process, community
assemblies were formed around the country to debate the idea of the new party
and to decide on the political program.
From these community assemblies, which met weekly for several weeks to debate
the details of the party, around 14,000 spokespersons were elected at the end
of September. These, in turn, elected about 1,500 delegates for the party's
founding congress. Officials say that the foundational congress will begin next
Friday, November 2nd, with the task of formulating the political program and
writing the party bylaws. Chavez said on Sunday that he would be meeting with
the newly-elected delegates in Caracas
Although there were some irregularities reported in parts of the country,
authorities declared the elections a success and assured their legitimacy.
Party members in the southern state of Bolivar denounced the fraudulent
formation of some community assemblies with the intention of winning seats in
the founding congress. Likewise, party members in the Andean state of Trujillo accused local
government officials of hijacking the community assemblies.
PSUV party member Francisco Gomez accused some community assemblies of
"being born with the same vices of the Fourth Republic
"They don't have the support of the community. They haven't carried out
the necessary meetings or collected the necessary signatures for their
formation," he said. "They are doing all this with the intention of
getting elected as delegates and later attending the PSUV founding congress in Caracas."
According to the official agenda of the party, the founding congress will meet
for a period of two months and by January of next year the party organization
and directives should be formed. The 1,500 delegates elected on Saturday will
have the task of approving the political program and party constitution, which
then must be approved in a party-wide referendum. The delegates of the founding
congress also have the task of electing the party's national leadership.
The new party is expected to be formed in time to participate in the 2008
municipal and state-level elections, taking the place of the Movimiento Quinta Republica (MVR –
Movement for a Fifth Republic) as the main pro-Chavez party, and will likely be
the biggest single party in the history of the country.