Venezuela’s United Socialist Party Registers Candidates for Municipal Elections, Some Groups Protest

After a week-long registration process held by Venezuela’s National Electoral Council (CNE), 146 of the 275 current mayors of the left-wing United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV) will be up for reelection in the December 8 municipal elections. 

By Sascha Bercovitch
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At the end of the week-long registration process, the CNE cleared 15,572 citizens to participate in the December 8 elections (Reuters)
At the end of the week-long registration process, the CNE cleared 15,572 citizens to participate in the December 8 elections (Reuters)

Caracas, August 11th 2013 (Venezuelanalysis.com) – After a week-long registration process held by Venezuela’s National Electoral Council (CNE), 146 of the 275 current mayors of the left-wing United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV) will be up for reelection in the December 8 municipal elections.

The PSUV had begun a process of internal elections for its candidates in March, when President Hugo Chavez died. In June however, President Nicolas Maduro indicated in a PSUV meeting that party national and regional leaders would select its candidates in conjunction with the Great Patriotic Pole (GPP).

In some municipalities, the selection process has resulted in protest from PSUV members.

On Thursday in Guarenas, a commuting city near Caracas, residents belonging to the PSUV protested the selection of former Minister Rodolfo Sanz in place of current mayor, Freddy Rodriguez, who had been expected to run for reelection.

Rodriguez called for peace on his Twitter account later that day, writing, “In a democracy, these are the rules of the game. Let’s continue with our lives in peace and harmony”.

In nearby Guatire the same day, a smaller protest occurred upon the selection of Miranda state legislative councilor Thais Oquendo as the PSUV candidate instead of current mayor Oswaldo Sifontes.

A more intense reaction emerged in Barlovento, a region of Miranda state, where one thousand PSUV members resigned to protest the choice of current mayor Deivis Caceres for reelection.

“We don't do this in contempt; we're not counterrevolutionaries,” local party director Celedonio Martinez stated. “This is a popular rebellion: if the people, its bases, 17 of 18 parties of the [Great] Patriotic Pole, said in an internal postulation process in [the Balovento municipality of] Mamporal that we want Ramon Gomez with 83% of the votes, why are they going to impose Caceres on us?”

Martinez added that the resignation was the first of various actions to be taken by the region’s 420 “battle units” which he warned could cost the party “an average of 4,200 votes”.

In a broadcast earlier today on state-run channel Venezolana de Televisión, foreign minister and PSUV leader, Elias Jaua maintained that “in this coming electoral process, we need to improve our efficiency. The Bolivarian Revolution has an ethic.”

Maduro emphasized on Twitter that “union and discipline” were the keys to triumph in the elections.

“We have to hold a constructive campaign, articulating the real organization of people in power … The revolution has …advanced leaders of a generation of patriots, formed to govern and construct 21st century socialism,” he said.

At the end of the registration process, the CNE cleared a total of 15,572 citizens to run in the December 8 elections, when the positions for 335 mayors, 2,435 municipal councilors, 69 local indigenous representatives, 2 metropolitan mayors, and 20 district councils will be decided.

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