CARACAS – At least two Venezuelan opposition parties proposed on Wednesday to the rest of the organizations opposing the Nicolas Maduro government that they hold a primary election in December to select a single candidate to run in the presidential election scheduled for next year.
“The government wants to move up the presidential elections to the first quarter of next year, in February or March. They’re even talking about (as early as) February 4, and they can’t continue ambushing us with elections,” said Andres Velasquez, the national head of La Causa R, at an event involving Primero Justicia and La Causa R.
Velasquez was defeated in the gubernatorial election on Oct. 15, according to the official results, which he challenged after presenting documents showing alleged fraud in southern Bolivar state, for which he accused the government and the National Election Council (CNE).
“We’re going to take some steps forward if we now, in December, select (a candidate), if we manage to elect our presidential candidate via primary elections. We’re ready already for the fight. Let’s not let them catch us unprepared,” Velasquez said.
He also said that whoever wins the prospective primary, which would be an internal consultation organized by the organizations within the MUD alliance, “without any doubt is going to be the leader of the national unit” and will help to resolve the differences that have been evident among several parties in the bloc in recent weeks.
The candidate will be “a clear, determined interlocutor vis-a-vis the international community,” who, Velasquez said, will fight to “modify the electoral conditions.”
This has been one of the demands of the opposition parties who refused to participate in the mayoral elections to be held on Dec. 10.
Although the date of the presidential election has not been announced, Velasquez said that the contest will be “the last time and place to change things in Venezuela.”
Meanwhile, opposition figure Juan Pablo Guanipa, in the name of the Primero Justicia party, said that a primary election will help to provide “redefinition” to the opposition coalition and “clarify the situation” of each one of its members.
Guanipa, who was elected governor of Zulia state in the recent vote but later removed from office by the Constituent National Assembly, asked the anti-Chavista forces to accept the proposal for a primary election and “set a date as soon as possible” to hold the balloting.
He said that the proposal also has the support of the Voluntad Popular party and the so-called Student Movement.