Mérida, November 5th 2010 (Venezuelanalysis.com) – The Venezuelan opposition has begun discussions around its candidate for the 2012 presidential elections, while current president Hugo Chavez has already said he will run again. So far, there have been four nominations of possible candidates for the opposition.
One proposal is current governor of Lara state, Henry Falcon. Franz de Armas, who resigned from the opposition’s Democratic Unity Roundtable (MUD) because he felt it didn’t function well, and is now currently linked to the Homeland for All party (PPT), a party that has vacillated in its support for President Chavez and now is considered part of the opposition, proposed Falcon.
Falcon ran for governor of Lara state as a member of the governing United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV), but later left the PSUV to join the PPT, citing bureaucracy and lack of discussion within the PSUV. Falcon was criticised by PSUV members for allegedly colluding with business groups and opposition sectors.
In September Julio Borges of the First Justice party told press that fellow party member and governor of Miranda state, Henrique Capriles Radonski “deserved to be the opposition presidential candidate”.
However, Braulio Jatar of another main opposition party, COPEI, said last month that opposition journalist and legislator-elect, Miguel Rodriguez, should be the candidate.
Also last month, Herman Escarra, a constitutional lawyer and former Chavez ally who has since become a staunch oppositionist, also announced his intention to run as an opposition candidate.
Escarra said that his decision depends on the MUD holding primary elections. Before the recent parliamentary elections, the PSUV chose all its nominal candidates in primary elections, whereas the opposition only elected 15% of its candidates by a membership vote.
Escarra told the press he would base his campaign on the “substitution of the Chavista regime” but also on an “economic program based on the constitution and a structure oriented towards eradicating poverty”.
Santiago Fontiveros, writing in national private newspaper El Universal on 23 October said, “The opposition leader who is going to face Chavez should be decided in the next six months, not six months before the elections”.
Fontiveros explained that those who vote for the opposition are not interested in who the candidate is, but the problem is that it’s necessary, “to convince at least a further 10% of the population. To convince them, it’s important to offer them a proposal and a leader, and… This takes time so it’s better to start soon”.
Trino Marquez, writing today for Analitica.com, also argued for quick opposition primaries, “at the latest towards the end of the first half of 2011”. He suggested that because the presidential elections will coincide with the regional elections for governors and mayors, it would be best to first choose the opposition presidential candidate, then the other regional opposition candidates.
“Choosing the counter-figure to [Chavez] is urgent. He’s already campaigning and as we advance towards 2012 the offensive will be more intense,” Marquez wrote.
In the 2006 presidential elections, Manuel Rosales was the main opposition candidate. Hugo Chavez obtained 63% of the vote and Rosales, 37% of the vote.
In the lead-up to those elections, the opposition parties debated holding primary elections to select their key candidate, but the other candidates ended up backing Rosales, five months before the elections.