United Socialist Party of Venezuela to Determine Nomination Process Democratically

The United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV) will hold a national assembly of party delegates on Friday to determine the methodology of selecting candidates for the upcoming state and local election party vice-president Alberto Müller Rojas said on Monday.
PSUV vice-president Muller Rojas (EFE)

Caracas, May 6 2008, (venezuelanalysis.com) – The United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV) will hold a national assembly of party delegates on Friday to determine the methodology of selecting candidates for the upcoming state and local election – which President Hugo Chavez called “the most important elections in the history of Venezuela” – party vice-president Alberto Müller Rojas said on Monday.

“We do not want to approve any methodology in the framework of the national executive, much less in the framework of the political bureau of the party, rather we have brought the discussion to a national assembly in order to guarantee internal democracy,” Müller Rojas told the press.

Chavez has repeatedly stressed that candidates of the PSUV must be nominated and chosen by the ranks of the party and that those who prematurely launch themselves as candidates without democratic approval should be expelled.

Last Tuesday Muller Rojas announced that four members of the PSUV – Henry Falcón, (mayor of Iribarren municipality in Barquisimeto, possible candidate for governor of Lara), Luis Díaz Salazar, (legislator and candidate for governor of Monagas); Wilmer Pérez, (legislator and candidate for mayor of Barinas); and Wilmer Azuaje, (legislator and candidate for governor of Barinas) – had been expelled for launching their candidacies for the November elections.

During a press conference on the same day in the state of Lara, Falcón insisted that his “presumed” expulsion was “a decision taken hurriedly by the leadership” and maintained his commitment to the revolution saying he would wait for the final word from Chavez.

National Assembly Deputy Luis Tascón, denounced that Falcón “possesses internal enemies in the PSUV” who wanted to prevent him from standing.

However, on Monday Müller Rojas denied that Falcón had been expelled from the PSUV.
“What Henry Falcón did was indicate his aspirations to be a candidate in a speech where he was presenting an account of his management to the Municipal Council, but he did not launch any candidacy,” he clarified.

Müller Rojas differentiated the case of Falcón to that of Tascón, who was suspended from the PSUV in mid-February after he denounced alleged corruption in the Infrastructure Ministry under the management of José David Cabello in mid-February without providing evidence.

Cabello’s brother, Miranda Governor Diosdado Cabello accused Tascón of being an “instrument of imperialism” and wrongly claimed that he had been expelled from the PSUV after Chavez had deemed his behaviour as “undisciplined and irresponsible.” However, a vote was never taken to expel him and it was declared that he had been suspended.

Initially Tascón was to be granted the right to defend himself in the party, but on April 23 Müller Rojas argued that he had lost the right to be heard after Tascón announced his candidacy for Mayor of Libertador, in clear violation of democratically chosen method of selecting candidates within the party.

On April 26 Tascón announced that eight parliamentary deputies had separated from the PSUV’s United Socialist Parliamentary Block to form a “revolutionary” and “participatory” parliamentary platform.

In a press conference yesterday Tascón also confirmed that he has registered a new political party with the National Electoral Council, to be called, New Revolutionary Path, which he says has the backing of numerous social organisations and 32,000 members.

Tascón criticised the PSUV for what he described as “the lack of internal democracy, the exclusion of leaders, authoritarianism, and the lack of political will to combat corruption,” arguing that Diosdado Cabello, a key figure associated with the rightwing of Chavismo, has too much power within the party.

Tascón insisted that he remains within the revolutionary process and with President Chavez, but from a critical perspective.

Müller Rojas confirmed on Monday that Governor Carlos Giménez has been suspended from the PSUV pending a judicial investigation into alleged administrative irregularities and the embezzlement of $200,000 from the Foundation for Social Development in the state of Yaracuy.

Müller Rojas said that once the PSUV had chosen its candidates by the end of May they would then be “combined,” through consensus or a polling system, with the candidates of the other parties of the Patriotic Alliance, including the Homeland for All (PPT), the Venezuelan Communist Party (PCV), and the Electoral Movement of the People (MEP), among others, to form a united platform of pro-revolutionary parties for the elections.

Boosted by the defeat of President Chavez’s proposed constitutional reforms in December last year, Venezuelan opposition parties are also working to form a united campaign for the November election. However, strong divisions remain, with some already launching their candidacies.

Luis Ignacio Planas, secretary general of the Christian democratic party COPEI called on the opposition to unite and define a clear mechanism for choosing candidates.