And you thought "enough with primaries!".... Little did you know.......
But be assured that the PSUV primaries are going to tax your brain much less than the Unidad primaries did.
The umpire will be the armed forces. I did not count them as a "motivational" group the other day because the officers are spread along the 4 groups, from the generals that do a little bit of drug trafficking to make ends meet, to those that are in the army as any job and will support any constitutional regime as long as their pay checks comes on time.
But Chavez renewed bout with cancer has started the succession wars and thus there is a need for a primary, but a very special one.
First, the winner is already known before the first ballot is cast: Hugo Chavez. But since he may be out of service by October 7 the primary is about choosing a runner up, the guy that may have to step in before October 7.
The voters are not too numerous: no major election is planned. At most we are talking here, generously, of maybe about 1,000 votes that will be "consulted" discretely. I wrote votes instead of voters because some of the voters have the right to vote many times if necessary: for example the vote of Fidel is worth at least the vote of 10 National Assembly men, just to give you an idea. Though it is difficult to know the ratio for sure since so far the rules for the primary have not been published yet.
Who is allowed to vote?
Well, probably about 100 military folks. About 20 of them have more than one vote: they are the narco-generals. 150 votes?
The National Assembly, governors and a few mayors. Not all, only the reliable ones. Maybe some of them are allowed to vote more than once, but very few. 200 votes?
The high ranking executive. Some ministers only can but all can vote from 1 to 10 times depending where they are in Chavez favor. 50 votes?
The famiglia: a dozen votes?
Some personalities and political operators, from Jose Vicente Rangel to some TSJ members who will have to stick their neck out to legitimize the outcome. 150 votes?
The Cubans. At least 100 votes?
And Chavez who by himself is worth, oh, 200 votes? Of course, if he dies before the vote is held secretly somewhere in the space time continuous his votes are split between the famiglia, the Cubans and some "political operators".
The candidates do not fit neatly among the 3 motivational groups of chavismo. And in the current panic inside chavismo we may be forgiven as we wonder about some of them representing anything but their self interest. For memory the 3 motivational groups of chavismo: the do or die, the talibans and the transactional.
Diosdado Cabello is the only one with fans in the three groups. He has many corrupt "do or die" following him because they see in him a soul mate. The talibans are less sanguine but among these talibans there are some veterans of the 1992 coups and they see him as the only guarantee that they will retain their rank. And the transactional see him as maybe the lone pragmatic chavista able, when the chips fall, to negotiate with a victorious opposition acceptable terms of surrender.
Jaua/Maduro represent the taliban group, mostly Jaua as Maduro has some tentacles in the transactional group. Maduro is for the time being apparently out but he can well come back in if it pleases Chavez. But they are trailing Diosdado at this point as the 200 votes of Chavez are decisive for them to win.
Jose Vicente Rangel is an outsider with few votes but he could be the winner of a brokered convention, taking over himself the responsibility of an electoral defeat so as to preserve the chances of the other PSUV wanna-be presidents.
Minor candidates have only a chance if one the three above makes a major mistake. Chavez brother is one of them but outside of the Cuban and taliban faction he has no support. The lone minister of Chavez who could be crazy enough to try out is Ramirez just because he controls the money and supposedly has the goods on who stole what and when: blackmail in the PSUV is a powerful electoral tool. There is always the possibility that the army decides to form a 5th "motivational group" and launch its own candidate that will have to be accepted by chavismo least they are ousted by a coup. But like Rangel, the army candidate is more a possibility in the case of a brokered convention.
And that is about it.
Note that the 4th "motivational" group, the opposition, could splinter if Chavez were to die soon. Some could make a pact with one of the above groups. That splinter faction would bring to the primary maybe a 100 votes?
Which primaries did you like best?