The Mesa de la Unidad Democratica, Venezuela’s largest opposition bloc, held primaries today ahead of the anticipated fall parliamentary election. The primaries took place across 12 states, totalling 1,499 voting centres. 7.7 million Venezuelans were eligible to vote for their choice candidate.
Jose Luis Cartaya, the president of the Comision Electoral de Primarias [Primary Elections Commission] spoke on the scope of today’s undertaking:
We’ve got 18,746 volunteers ready, between presidents, [voting table staff], and coordinators. The tables will be open from 6:00 AM to 4:00 PM.
Today’s election will elect only 42 of the 167 total MUD candidates for the National Assembly; the other 125 will be selected via consensus.
Jesus Torrealba, the executive director of the MUD, spoke on the importance of exercising the right to vote, saying:
We have to vote to throw the criminals out onto the streets, to remove them from the government… the worst epidemic afflicting our country today is fear. We have to vote.
Torrealba took to Twitter later on in the day to say that “change begins today”.
Below, some pictures of the election process from around Venezuela today.
Porlamar, Nueva Esparta state:
A voting centre somewhere in Valencia, Carabobo state:
A line outside a voting centre, probably in San Diego, Carabobo state:
Jorge Rodriguez: MUD Primaries are “Fraud”
Libertador municipality mayor Jorge Rodriguez called today’s primary elections “a fraud” since the process will only select a relatively small number of candidates for the National Assembly. Rodriguez pointed out that by contrast, the PSUV will hold primary election to select every single one of its National Assembly candidates.
Rodriguez summed up his opinion in the following way:
The only primaries are the ones [held by] chavismo. All others are false. They are a fraud, pure and simple.
The PSUV official was not the only one to voice his contempt for the MUD primaries. The secretary of the La Causa R party (which is a member of the MUD), Americo De Grazia, said that the bloc was “risking defeat” at the fall elections by not carrying out primaries in every electoral district.
De Grazia explained:
This decision contributes nothing to the strengthening of the political forces of unity. The fact that [the MUD] isn’t conducting the primaries as the country has asked them to – instead choosing to take the short cut of partial primaries and back-room deals [acuerdos de cogollos] – puts us in a position of weakness and disadvantage before the circumstances the country is living through.
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