Interim President Nicolas Maduro will be the candidate for the governing United Socialist Party. Photo: telesurtv.net

HAVANA TIMES — Venezuela’s National Electoral Council (CNE) yesterday called for new presidential elections to take place on April 14 to fill the vacancy left by the death of President Hugo Chavez on Tuesday, reported dpa news.

Venezuelans are again being called to the polls only six months after Chavez was reelected with 55 percent of the vote on October 7, after which his health didn’t allow him take the oath for his 2013-2019 mandate.

The election will be a contest between interim president Nicolas Maduro (the new champion of Chavismo), and opposition leader Henrique Capriles, who the opposition alliance Mesa de Unidad Democratica (MUD) has nominated.

The president of Electoral Council, Tibisay Lucena, informed that the election campaign will be carried out over a 10-day period, from April 2 to 11, while applications for candidacy will only be accepted until Monday, March 11th.

On the newly designated Election Day, the ruling United Socialist Party will be represented by Maduro, who was given the nod by Chavez to be his successor in December, before the president left for Cuba to be operated on.

According to a court ruling Maduro will be allowed to hold the post of interim president while running for election, that upheld his assertion.

The executive secretary of the MUD opposition coalition, Ramon Guillermo Aveledo, announced that the alliance agreed unanimously to offer the candidacy to Capriles, who ran for that office in the previous October 7 elections but lost to Chavez.

“Unity will not fail the country. We understand perfectly well that there are conditions of opportunism and inequality that the regime is determined to impose,” said Capriles, adding that the parties of the alliance will run under a unified symbol on Election Day.

Henrique Capriles of the opposition coalition will be Maduro’s rival. Photo: telesurtv.net

Aveledo didn’t mention the statements made by Maduro on Friday night, when he suggested that due to internal problems of the opposition, they were considering not participating in the elections and boycotting them in rejection of the court ruling that upheld Maduro’s inauguration as interim president.

“What stands out (as opportunism) isn’t the shortened period, but the recent Supreme Court ruling that treats the government’s candidate as if he were a president-elect so that he can abuse power by taking advantage of his current position. We’re going to engage in a campaign against power. Those who think we’re not going to address this are mistaken,” said Aveledo.

Speaking “firmly,” he added that MUD will review the electoral conditions for the vote. He stressed: “The impartiality that we’re seeking is not a gift. It has to do with the enforcement of the law.”

Aveledo highlighted that over 33 parties are allied in the opposition coalition agreed unanimously to go into the election under a unique symbol and a single color that “expresses the unity that will support our candidate.”

“We agreed to offer the candidacy to the person who was our previous candidate, who was elected in open primaries (on February 12, 2012), which included the largest participation in history, and who was reelected as governor (Miranda state) on December 16. We have recognized Capriles as the person to embody the democratic alternative,” he said.

Lucena said the CNE is prepared to carry out the election with the “usual transparency.”

“The approval was made in compliance with the legal and technical norms for the presidential election,” he said in a message to the country.

She noted that these elections, despite their urgency, are “perfectly feasible” and she rejected criticisms by opposition sectors of alleged bias.

“The campaign will be carried out adhering to all norms. We will not allow excesses anywhere,” she said.

Some 17.4 million electors will be entitled to vote, the same voter registration rolls used for the Oct. 7 elections.


3 thoughts on “Venezuela Goes Back to the Polls April 14

  • The National Electoral Council (CNE) announced that 21 political organizations have filed papers and met the requirements for the presidential elections ( 8 candidates) to be held on the anniversary of the peoples victory over the coup of 2002 and the return to President Chavez to power on April 14th.

    Besides the major candidates, Nicolas Maduro and Henique Capriles Radonski of the opposition coalition (MUD) there will be Maria Bolivar of the United Democratic Party for Peace and Freedom (Pdupl), Reina Sequera of Poder Laboral; she finished 3rd in the last election held on October 7th with 70,567 votes, Eusebio Medez; who is a pastor and and running with the New Vision For My Country (NUVIPA) a evangelical party, Fredy Tabaraquino (JOVEN), Gonzalo Contreras (Cambio Pana) and Julio Mora (UDEMO).

    And Orlando Chirino; an ultra, ultra leftist who has some trade union support and has received funding from CIA backed foundations in Europe in the past, will not be running.He finished last in the October presidential election with a little over 4000 votes.

    Cort

  • There will be other candidates also, 56 parties and groups could run. Yesterday the PCV endorsed Maduro.

    I will expect Capriles to lose big time because of his record, inciting a riot at the Cuban embassy in 2002 during the US backed coup, making inflammatory remarks yesterday and at the death of President Chavez along with other right wingers, going to the US last week searching for more US money, being friends w/ Uribe of Colombia, and etc.

    Oh yea, more gas on the fire the US just expelled 2 Venezuelan diplomats today because Venezuela kicked out 2 US military embassy spies last week for trying to get some segments of the Venezuelan military to overthrow the government.

    “I’m more afraid of Chávez physically dead than alive, because the opposition will be defeated in elections all over again.”

    That quote last week from Henry Ramos of the Accion Democratica party now part of the MUD coalition whose party was in charge during the Caracarzo massarce in 1989 when over 3000 people were killed.

  • Unfortunately, the deck is stacked against Capriles and the opposition alliance. Mathematically, Capriles only needs to add less than half a million more voters to his voter rolls from October to win the Presidency. However, in view of the emotion around the death of Chavez and the fact that as interim President, Maduro can be on television every day giving away houses and jobs to poor people, it will nearly impossible for Cariles to hold on to the electoral results in October, let alone add voters. Worse yet, should the polls dip toward Capriles, Maduro can just wheel out the Chavez mummy to reinvigorate his base.

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