The ruling PSUV party did what the united political opposition is incapable of doing.
About 38% of the PSUV’s registered members voted in the party’s 2 May primaries, choosing 110 candidates for the 26 September National Assembly elections in which 165 seats are in play.
President Hugo Chavez, also the PSUV’s president, will meet with senior party leaders (i.e. his closest confidants) to select the other 55 candidates who will complete the PSUV’s roster of 165 candidates.
Almost 100 of the candidates chosen by PSUV voters on 2 May are fresh faces.
Chavez regime propagandists already are spinning the results as proof that Bolivarian socialism is more democratic, inclusive and participatory than the opposition’s style of democracy.
In contrast, less than three-dozen of the 165 legislative candidates fielded by the “united” opposition are new faces. Moreover, only 22 of these candidates were chosen in primaries; the rest being nominated by “consensus” within the Unitary Democratic Table (MUD).
Our conclusion: MUD’s masters – Accion Democratica, Primero Justicia and Unete – have screwed the pooch again.
The Chavez regime has a focused strategy, which is to retain control of at least two-thirds of the National Assembly in September’s elections.
The 55 candidates that Chavez will choose in coming weeks certainly will include his closest associates, the true hardcore revolutionaries whose loyalty he can count on.
However, the almost 100 new PSUV faces do, arguably, represent the popular will of the PSUV members who participated in the party’s primaries. This group of candidates also legitimizes the regime’s claim that the revolution is open to all true socialists.
The PSUV’s 165 candidates also have an insurmountable advantage over the opposition in terms of financial, logistics and material resources available to their campaigns.
The Chavez regime will see to it that the PSUV’s campaign “message” is seen and heard everywhere in Venezuela.
But MUD doesn’t have squat.
The opposition has no perceptible vision or message, except perhaps “quitate tu pa’ ponerme yo.”
The opposition also has no financial resources to mount effective multi-media campaigns. This is not necessarily insurmountable.
Financial constraints probably can be overcome significantly if the candidates go out in person to pound the pavements in their respective districts. Go out and meet voters, engage voters in discussions, listen to what voters say.
However, most of the same old tired faces in MUD’s consensus slate of candidates have never been politicians who burn shoe leather for votes. They feel entitled, but they’re not street politicians and most have never represented or had any real contact with their pueblo.
MUD’s dominant parties – led by exclusionary dinosaurs like Henry Ramos Allup, Omar Barboza, Manuel Rosales and Julio Borges – don’t really appeal to anyone outside their own clannish groups.
In fact, polls consistently show very high levels of voter rejection of traditional opposition party leaders.
Venezuelans are increasingly fed up with President Chavez, but they don’t want to see the opposition dinosaurs back in power – ever.
However, try telling that to the dinosaurs. Come 26 September, the Chavez regime may not have to rig the results in its favor, thanks to MUD.