Organised Communities in Venezuela Elect Representatives to Federal Government Council

Yesterday communal council spokespeople elected their eleven representatives to the Federal Government Council that will have its first plenary session on 9 April and will oversee government budgeting and policies. 

By Tamara Pearson - Venezuelanalysis.com
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Merida, March 28th, 2010 (Venezuelanalysis.com) –  Yesterday communal council spokespeople elected their eleven representatives to the Federal Government Council that will have its first plenary session on 9 April and will oversee government budgeting and policies. 

Along with the eleven communal council representatives, the council will also have nine social movement representatives, to make a total of twenty “popular power” representatives who will meet with all state governors, ministers, and one mayor per state in order to contribute to budget planning and government resource allocation decisions, analyse government proposals and policy, socialise such information among communities and ideally to provide a space where proposals, plans and projects can be proposed by the communities. 

On 24 and 25 of March, in 366 municipal assemblies, communal council spokespeople, all of which were eligible for nomination as well, voted for one representative per assembly. These representatives then went to regional elections on Saturday in six different regions of the country, and voted for one or two representatives to the Federal Government Council.  

According to the ministry of communes, over ten thousand communal councils were initially involved, and assemblies also discussed the Federal Government Council law as well as community roles in government decision making. In both levels of elections, the ministry for communes organised the voting centres, and received technical support from the National Electoral Council (CNE). 

The 11 spokespeople include three women. They are elected for one year only.  

“With the law [of the federal government council], the organised people, through their spokespeople, will be sitting down on an equal footing with the national and regional governments, and will also have an equal vote when the time comes to make decisions about the country’s destiny,” said Javier Gomez, a spokesperson from the communal council El Buen Vecino.

Erika Farias, minister for communes and social protection, said that over the next few days the nine social movement representatives will be selected from social organisations including campesino, fishers,workers, intellectuals, indigenous, women, and sports organisations or movements. These social movements will have an internal selection process to choose their spokespersons. 

The new Law of the Federal Government Council was passed in early February. It also involves a new fund that will allow for direct communal council financing.