Wednesday, June 28, 2006

SUMATE will not direct primary elections for the Venezuelan opposition

Or: "chronicles of a foretold death" could have been the title.

Sumate, the electoral NGO that is perhaps the most efficient organization in today's Venezuela has announced that since the delays for a a primary election on August 6 could not be held as of this week, it would withdraw from the primary process. As a serious organization, it had asked at least 6 weeks to organize them and the 6 weeks do not exit anymore as the candidates have not agreed yet on whether go to a primary or not.

End, it seems, of primaries in Venezuela.

Should we be surprised? Not at all, but not for the obvious reasons that chavismo would have us believe.

There were two powerful counter-incentives in holding primary elections within the opposition, no matter what other benefits there might have been.

1) the existence of the Maisanta list would have limited popular participation and thus tarnished any result of the election, something that chavismo would have benefited a lot from.

2) there seems that there will not be an election in December anyway so why bother.

Since I have addressed these two issues in the past, it would be redundant to go into detail again (on Chavez playing the abstention card to sabotage elections here, on that primary sinking feeling here and many other comments elsewhere on the cheating by the CNE such as here). I will come back to it when there is new and interesting information that could bring more light on what I said previously (reading myself it looks like I am more and more like a modern Cassandra!).

However I personally think that what is going on is that the electoral trickery of chavismo is so blatant that it seems impossible to have a free and fair election in December. The opposition candidates are becoming aware of that and are finally realizing that a primary campaign would be a waste of time, a waste of money and would only benefit Chavez in the long run.

In other words, primary elections make sense in democratic countries and these past weeks we have clearly seen that Chavez is taking the country far and away from democracy. Primary elections made sense in February. They make no sense today, no matter what benefit they could carry. It is useless to cry on that, more serious matters are aroudn the corner.

[to be continued]

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