Mérida, June 12th 2012 (Venezuelanalysis.com) – President Hugo Chavez, with a clean bill of health, registered as a candidate for the upcoming presidential elections yesterday, while opposition member Henrique Capriles registered on Sunday, both accompanied by large marches. Five other people have also registered as candidates.
Chavez “feeling very well”, formally registers his candidacy
After a huge march in Caracas, and more concentrations and marches in the main plazas around the country, Chavez registered his candidacy for the 7 October presidential elections, nominated by 11 parties, including the United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV), Redes, Electoral Movement of the People, the Communist Party of Venezuela (PCV), the Tupamaros, Popular Unity Venezuela, New Revolutionary Path, Independents for the Community, and the Revolutionary Party of Work.
“The life of the country is at stake, not any old thing is at stake here, it’s the future of the country,” Chavez told the crowd of supporters outside after he registered.
Both Chavez and Capriles, as a requirement for their registration, also handed in government plans, which are their proposals for the 2013-2019 period of governance. Venezuelanalysis.com will be writing up an analysis of both proposals soon, but the five main objectives of Chavez’s plan are; maintain national independence, deepen socialism, make Venezuela an economic and social power, end with the unipolarity of imperialism, and contribute to the saving of the planet.
Chavez requested that party and movement leaders discuss his plan until his possible swearing in on 10 January, where such discussion would be taken into account in a final plan to be presented to the national assembly then.
On Saturday Chavez announced that he had undergone tests following his cancer treatment, including imaging tests to check for the reappearance of tumours, and said that, “Everything came out absolutely fine, I feel very well”. One month has passed since he returned to Venezuela from Cuba after completing his last radiation therapy.
His announcement follows large amounts of speculation by international and national press that he was “too ill to run” and journalist Dan Rather reporting that he only had “two months to live”. World Bank president Robert Zoellick also said three days ago that "Chavez's days are numbered."
To which Chavez responded, "I think the one that has its days numbered is global capitalism, of which the World Bank is a part".
Henrique Capriles registers as opposition candidate
On Sunday Henrique Capriles also formally registered with the National Electoral Council (CNE) as a candidate for the October elections. He was nominated by the opposition umbrella group MUD, as well as by other larger and smaller opposition parties, such as A New Era With You (UNTC), Justice First Movement (MPJ), for a total of 23 organisations.
A large march also accompanied Capriles in the process, protected by 5,000 national security police and soldiers. According to one journalist from the state news agency AVN, Capriles’ seven-minute speech to the crowd after registering was “full of advertising slogans...his ideas all over the place...he didn’t describe his plan for the country or his proposals”.
Capriles stepped down from his post as governor of Miranda state this week to focus on the campaign.
Other candidates who registered, and Podemos and PPT internal divisions
During the registration process, which lasted from 1 June to 12 midnight 11 June, 5 other candidates registered, with four of those still to hand in some required paperwork, having until tomorrow to do so. They are Maria Bolivar, Yoel Acosta Chirinos, Orlando Chirinos, Luis Reyes and Rafael Uzcátegui.
While Bolivar is largely unknown, Acosta Chirinos has previously supported Chavez and was involved with him in the 1992 coup attempt. Acosta Chirinos was nominated by the Vanguard Republican Bicentenary party. He said that party had recently applied to the national assembly to back Chavez, but was denied.
Orlando Chirinos, a union leader who was illegally fired from his job at PDVSA in 2007, then reinstated a year later, is also a leader of the CCURA (Classist, Unitary, Revolutionary, Autonomous Current), which initially supported the Chavez government, but has become more and more critical. He was nominated by the Socialism and Freedom Party (PSL). As he registered he told press that the “21st Century socialism of the government” is “false”.
Uzcategui is the national secretary of the PPT (Homeland for All), one of two larger parties which are internally divided over support for Chavez or the opposition. While Uzcategui has said the PPT “definitely doesn’t support the opposition”, another leader of the party, Jose Albornoz said today that of the 18 members of its secretariat, 16 support Capriles. General secretary of the PPT-Maneiro, Luis Tellerias, said Uzcategui represented a “minority group” of the party and was being “irresponsible” by registering as a candidate. For two years, two factions of the party have claimed legitimacy, so the Supreme Court ruled on 6 June this year that Tellerias was the general secretary and that Uzcategui should call internal party elections.
Similarly, the Supreme Court has ruled on centre-left party Podemos, which has also vacillated over time and has internal divisions over its support for Chavez or the opposition. The court named Didalco Bolivar and Baudilio Reinoso as provisional leaders, and ordered the CNE to refuse any postulation that arises from agreements not made by the ad-hoc board. The court made the ruling following a denouncement by Didalco Bolivar, who told press that there “is one Podemos and its with Chavez”. Podemos’ other known leader, Ismael Garcia, has said the party supports the opposition.