Caracas, May 25, 2010 (venezuelanalysis.com) – Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez announced today the United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV) candidates to head state-based lists for the upcoming September 26 parliamentary elections. Meanwhile a new opinion poll indicates that the PSUV is the party with the most popular support.
Venezuela’s 165-member national assembly is comprised of 110 deputies (with 110 corresponding alternates) elected via first-past-the-post elections in 87 different electoral circuits, 52 deputies elected via state-based lists, which ensures an element of proportional representation, and three indigenous representatives selected by indigenous peoples themselves.
On May 2 a massive 2.5 million party members participated in PSUV internal elections to select candidates for the 110 deputies and alternates, from 3,500 nominees.
The PSUV candidates that will head the state-based lists were announced by Chavez in consultation with the national leadership of the party and include a number of current deputies and a range of well known figures from successive Chavez administrations.
The candidates are Cesar Sanguinetti in Amazonas state; Earle Herrera in Anzoátegui; Cristóbal Jiménez for Apure; María León, Aragua; Victoria Mata, Bolívar; Yovanny Peña, Barinas; Francisco Ameliach, Carabobo; Erika Farías, Cojedes; Yelitza Santaella, Delta Amacuro; Cilia Flores and Tania Díaz for the Capital District; Fernando Soto Rojas, Falcón; Lídice Altuve, Guárico; Luis Reyes Reyes, Lara; Diógenes Andrade, Mérida; Héctor Navarro, Miranda; Diosdado Cabello, Monagas; Willian Fariñas, Nueva Esparta; Blanca Ekaout, Portuguesa; Luis Acuña, Sucre; Iris Varela, Táchira; Manuel Briceño, Trujillo; Oswaldo Vera, Vargas; Braulio Álvarez, Yaracuy and Arias Cárdenas in Zulia.
The elections in September are expected to be hotly contested as Venezuela’s U.S. backed right-wing opposition, which boycotted the parliamentary elections in 2005, is going all out to run a united campaign.
Chavez heads a project to build “Socialism of the 21st Century” in Venezuela known as the Bolivarian revolution, and insists that pro-revolution forces must win at least two thirds of the national assembly in order to ensure the continuity of the “socialist and Bolivarian project.”
Venezuela has experienced a tumultuous period of political polarization since Chavez was first elected 1998, including an opposition military coup, a capital strike and a recall referendum aimed at ousting the democratically elected Chavez from power. All of these attempts were defeated by the mass mobilisation of Chavez’s support base, predominantly comprised of workers and the poor.
The latest results of a GIS XXI survey, which is close to the Chavez government, carried out over May 4 -14, shows Chavez continues to be overwhelmingly popular, with personal approval rating of 58%. However, support for the PSUV is somewhat lower, reflecting frustration from grassroots Chavistas over perceived inefficiency and bureaucracy amongst other layers of government.
According to the GIS XXI poll, current voter intention indicates the PSUV would win 36% of the votes nationwide, the opposition parties combined would win 23.2% of the votes, 7.4% would not vote, while a sizeable 33.4% are undecided.
The same poll indicated that a whopping 76% of Venezuelans consider that the opposition leaders are simply defending their personal economic interests, and not those of the country, while 13% consider that the opposition leaders really do care about Venezuela, and a further 11% were unresponsive or undecided.
Despite this, some 39% of those polled said the opposition has “something” to offer while 47% said the opposition has “nothing” to offer.