Mérida, February 4th 2009 (Venezuelanalysis.com)– On Tuesday, opposition political parties in Venezuela accused the government of President Hugo Chávez of violating the national constitution by using public funds to finance the primary elections of the United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV) in the run-up to the regional and local elections that took place last November.
“Sadly the country saw how the state apparatus was used in an abusive manner to publicize the internal elections of the PSUV,” said Javier Medina the regional coordinator of the Movement Toward Socialism (MAS), an anti-Chávez party, in Zulia state.
Oscar Pérez from the National Resistance Command, demanded that Venezuela’s top anti-corruption watchdog, Comptroller General Clodosbaldo Russián, open formal investigations into whether government offices and individual functionaries used public funds to support the PSUV.
The conservative party COPEI, along with former presidential candidate Manuel Rosales’s party Un Nuevo Tiempo (A New Era) and Alianza Bravo Pueblo (Brave People’s Alliance), echoed these calls for transparency in PSUV’s accounting.
“They have used all the resources of the state” to back the PSUV campaigns, said Rosales.
According to Article 67 of Venezuela’s 1999 constitution, the state may not finance or contract with the leaders of non-government political associations.
The opposition parties also filed complaints with the National Electoral Council (CNE) that the state television channel broadcasted biased coverage in favor of the PSUV, in violation of laws on media objectivity during election periods.
On Wednesday, Chávez’s minister of communications and information, Jesse Chacón, denounced privately owned news outlets for biased coverage in favor of the opposition to a constitutional amendment that will be subject to a national vote this February 15th.
Chacón, who is also a PSUV party leader, said eight out of every ten news articles in leading private newspapers are biased against the amendment. The minister then encouraged PSUV activists to campaign in favor of the amendment.