Wednesday, December 1

The Venezuelan opposition ends the boycott and will participate in the regional elections in November | International


Photograph of August 21, 2021 where one of the headquarters of the National Electoral Council (CNE) is observed, in Caracas (Venezuela).
Photograph of August 21, 2021 where one of the headquarters of the National Electoral Council (CNE) is observed, in Caracas (Venezuela).MIGUEL GUTIERREZ / EFE

The Venezuelan opposition has decided that it will participate in the regional elections organized by the Government of Nicolás Maduro, called for this November 21. The formal announcement will take place, after several delays, this Monday, in the time limit for submitting applications. At the last minute, the Electoral Power set September 1 as a deadline. The decision has been made by the parties of the so-called g-4 –Primero Justicia, Acción Democrática, Un Nuevo Tiempo and Voluntad Popular-, together with some minority allied organizations.

These four parties are working in a hurry to finalize a unitary model against Chavismo in all the municipalities and states of the country, but there are still pending agreements in important federal entities such as Miranda, Carabobo, Bolívar and Lara. The delay of the G-4 in deciding its participation in the elections and in reasoning the measure before the population has made it the object of harsh criticism, particularly on social networks.

In the environment of the opposition parties, it is taken for granted that the announcement has the endorsement of Juan Guaidó, although he has tried to ambiguously distance himself from the initiative and some of his collaborators insist that he will not be the one who announces the decision. Guaidó – who declared that the meeting “is not an election” and that “he has not decided” if he will vote that day – continues to hold on to his position of agreeing general elections to re-legitimize all public powers in the conversations that the opposition has with him. chavismo in Mexico. Between the opposition parties and the so-called Interim Presidency, which he embodies, there has been a cooling in relations. According to sources close to him, Guaidó would strive to make a call for national unity.

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The decision to attend the elections for governors and mayors – while a team of opposition leaders develops negotiations with Chavismo in Mexico – marks an important turning point in the behavior of democratic parties since 2018, the year in which Maduro imposed his presidential reelection and the opposition decided to ignore the public powers.

“Today we were visiting Chapellín with our entire team from Primero Justicia in Caracas. Venezuelans’ desire for change is unstoppable, it is time to organize and move towards hope, ”said Tomás Guanipa, secretary general of Primero Justicia, until recently, Guaidó’s ambassador in Bogotá. Many other candidates visit popular neighborhoods with a similar tone.

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The opposition parties will not attend the meeting with the cards of their organizations, but under the umbrella of the defunct Mesa de la Unidad Democrática, MUD, the unitary platform that brought together all the opposition parties from 2009 to 2016. This card, with the that the opposition won its victory in the 2015 parliamentary elections, had been vetoed by the Electoral Power, and has just been returned to the opposition in the framework of recent negotiations. Everything indicates that this time the Chavista government will allow them to run.

Recently, Ramón José Medina and José Luis Cartaya, president and secretary of the MUD – an instance that is just a formality on which the parties rely – resigned their positions demanding that the opposition set up a unitary plan.

The opposition has a much more complex task than it seems to defeat Chavismo in elections for governors and mayors. It has fewer resources and weaker structures. Félix Seijas, director of the demoscopic firm Delphos, has stated that the population’s voting intention may increase if the opposition formalizes its decision to participate, although there is still caution with the forecasts. The opposition leaders themselves are clear that, at a time like this, “desire for change” does not necessarily imply an “opposition vote.” Although reduced, Chavismo has a disciplined militancy and the support of all the instruments of the State to impose itself.

“We have to start by assuming that we come from a failure, the objectives that we set for ourselves could not be met,” says Carlos Valero, national leader of Un Nuevo Tiempo. “It may happen that this annoyance is expressed, that a part of the country punishes us,” he adds. Valero explains that there is a “diversion of the dissident vote,” since the members of the Democratic Alternative, a coalition of small moderate parties, present in all previous Chavismo elections, go with their own candidates.

The strategic Miranda State, for example, has not been able to resolve the confrontation between opponents Carlos Ocariz and José Luis Uzcátegui. There has been speculation with the idea of ​​leaving open the possibility of an agreement even in the middle of the electoral campaign. The dispersion of the vote, in that case, could favor the Chavista standard-bearer, Héctor Rodríguez.

“The unitary agreements are going to be finalized,” says Julio Castillo, from Voluntad Popular, one of the two candidates for the governor of Carabobo. “The strength of each game balances the picture, because the usual thing is that some are strong where others are not. You have to make an effort to have a national speech, motivate people honestly and explain the limits of a governor’s election. I have seen that the decision to participate has excited many activists, people who were at home waiting for some guidance to participate. There are many people who know that they have not been able to leave Maduro, but that they can vote against him “

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