United Socialist Party of Venezuela Presents Candidate Nomination Plan for Next Elections

The United Socialist Party of Venezuela will be the first political party in Venezuela to hold democratic internal elections in a three-and-a-half-week process, in which all members of the new party will be eligible to nominate and vote for candidates for the upcoming state and local elections.

Caracas May 12, 2008, (venezuelanalysis.com) – The United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV) is set to make history by becoming the first political party in Venezuela to hold democratic internal elections in a three-and-a-half-week process, in which all members of the new party will be eligible to nominate and vote for candidates for the upcoming state and local elections.

PSUV regional vice-president for Zulia and Falcón, Rodrigo Cabezas, emphasized the significance of the process, pointing out, “For the first time in Venezuelan history, a political movement is carrying out internal democracy in line with what is established in article 67 of the constitution.”

All Venezuelan political parties are constitutionally required to hold democratic internal elections for candidates and leadership positions according to article 67 of the Bolivarian Constitution, which was approved by popular referendum in 1999. As yet no political party, whether pro-government or from the opposition, has met this requirement.

Maria Silva, a member of the PSUV national executive, said “These elections are an example of the intention to democratize the process of elections and candidacies in the country…Not a single party of the opposition, or in reality any other party that has existed in Venezuela, has carried out a democratic process where it is the people from the grassroots who elect their own candidates.”

Speaking during his weekly television show, Alo Presidente, on Sunday Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez called on the opposition parties to “follow the example of the PSUV” and hold their own internal democratic elections.

From May 12 to 14 all 5.7 million people who signed up to be members of the PSUV can nominate candidates through the webpage of the National Electoral Council (CNE) or in special “red zones” in the Bolivar Plazas, in the capitals of each of the 355 municipalities around the country.

In each plaza a booth monitored by the CNE will accept nominations for candidacies for the 355 mayoralties and 24 state governors around the country.

Jorge Rodríguez, a member of the technical commission of the PSUV said the only requirement to stand as a candidate in the PSUV was to be registered as a voter, comply with the requirements established in the Voting Law, and be a member of the PSUV.

However, “Publicity or campaigns in the street or through the media is totally prohibited,” he added.

Aristóbulo Izturiz, PSUV vice-president for Caracas, Miranda, and Vargas states explained that public campaigning for the internal elections will be prohibited so that “It is egalitarian. No one can have an advantage over another. There is going to be a series of programmed activities that allows the entire membership to know the candidates, from the May 18 to 30, these twelve days there will be forums and panels,” where the aspiring candidates can express their point of view.

The process of internal elections within the PSUV was also aimed at strengthening the revolution Rodríguez said.

“Every activist knows that when they go to vote on the 1st of June, that it is a vote in defense of the revolution, a vote in support of the leader of this process, which the people always express despite those who attempt to silence their voice,” he added.

After the closure of the nominations process on May 14, a discussion will be held within the national leadership of the PSUV from May 15 to 16, to evaluate the nominations process.

From May 18 to 30, a process of diffusing the candidate lists throughout the entire membership will be carried out, along with a series of forums and discussions so that members can hear the perspectives of the prospective candidates and finally on June 1 an election that is open to all PSUV members and is monitored by the CNE will be held.

On May 9 a national assembly of 1,687 PSUV delegates decided that if no single candidate achieves at least 51 percent support or 15 percent more than the next highest candidate in the internal elections then the national executive, in consultation with President Chavez can make the final decision, this process will be carried out from June 2 to 4 and the final list of candidates will be announced on June 5.

Ana Elisa Osorio, an alternate delegate to the national executive, said the participative character and method of choosing candidates was approved unanimously in the PSUV national assembly and was one of the achievements of the revolution and its struggle for equality and participation for all Venezuelans.

Vanessa Davies, also a member of the national executive of the party, stressed that candidates must commit to comply with the programs discussed by the grassroots battalions of the party.

“It is necessary to insist that the candidates commit themselves publicly to these plans of governing elaborated by the members,” she said.