The opposition’s primary elections got off to a rocky start. From the beginning, the infrastructure provided for the manual process was deficient and marred by technical errors. The highly concentrated electoral centers were meant to make it look like it was “election day.” However, this approach led to disorderly voting centers with long lines and a painfully slow voting process.
From the above, it is evident that this was actually a fundamentally political public relations event based on a plan to hype up the opposition’s strength.
The National Primary Commission (CNdP), under allegations of an alleged “external disturbance” against its website, has not yet provided definitive and conclusive results. “Estimate” turnout numbers abound, between 1.8 million to 2.3 million voters. In the best case, this is equivalent to 11.5% of the Permanent Electoral Register.
If compared to the last opposition primaries in 2012, in which 17.5% participated, there are doubts about the political success of October 22’s elections in terms of turnout, particularly if one considers that this sector of the opposition carried out enormous media promotion, political mobilizations of multiple candidates, and a significant investment of resources for political organizations for more than a year.
In other words, the general achievement of the primaries was minuscule compared to the effort needed to achieve it.
The election was not competitive. It was evident that María Corina Machado would win, especially after the withdrawal of the most competitive candidates at the beginning, Benjamín Rausseo and Henrique Capriles. Thus, the overall purpose of the vote was lost in the end.
She did achieve the objective of placing the electoral route at the center of interest among her followers, although this was not reflected mathematically. More opponents participated on November 21, 2021, when the regional and municipal mega-elections were held.
The complaints against Vente Venezuela (VV), Súmate and the CNdP are multiple. The most relevant were from Carlos Prosperi, who served as Democratic Action candidate. An election without real impact of the G3+1 political parties organically weakens the electoral prospects of that opposition sector as a whole for 2024.
Furthermore, a non-competitive election without real political benefits for many actors has created unnecessary wounds, such as mistrust and the breakdown of the electoral organization between parties and other actors—especially the “civil society” close to Machado.
The most difficult questions return to the fore now, the day after the “election.”
En Primarias 2012 votaron casi 3 millones de opositores,un 17.5% del REP de entonces.
Esta vez hicieron campaña durante un año, propagandizaron, múltiples candidatos se movieron en simultáneo, usaron recursos robados y el gobierno gringo les hizo el favor del bloqueo.
— FRANCO VIELMA (@franco_vielma) October 23, 2023
The coronation factor
The possibility of fraud to guide the election excessively in favor of Machado fosters a new scenario, very complex in any case: it creates wounds and reduces the possibility that another candidate politically qualified under national laws, although defeated and well positioned in the election, could assume the unitary candidacy in case the disqualification against VV’s policy is maintained.
Due to the above, there are greater obstacles to achieving an opposition consensus to elect an alternative candidate. That dispute has not been resolved. They have not defined a method, and the possibility is strengthened that, in the event that Machado fails to register with the National Electoral Council in 2024, she would appoint a candidate without a consensus with the G3+1.
In the event that a consensus is not achieved between the G3+1 and Machado, to elect an alternate candidate, another candidate who has not participated in the primary, would emerge, which will make it a completely failed, useless, and ephemeral event.
The bad taste of a primary captured by Machado generates other problems for the opposition. She herself has said she wants to interfere in other opposition structures, such as the Democratic Unitary Platform—of which she is not a part, although it gave her the opportunity to participate in the primary. She wants to influence the negotiating team with Venezuela’s government through the Norwegian Instrument and even in the leadership of the National Assembly elected in 2015—without political ties or real representation in Venezuelan politics.
Due to the above, the possibility is reinforced that with Machado disqualified until the presidential elections, another actor will emerge in the G3, if she wanted to impose Delsa Solórzano, Andrés Caleca—the next most-popular candidates on October 22—or someone who does not enjoy the support of the G3.
In general terms, the opposition primaries did not fulfill their essential objective: to unite the opposition.
Translation: Orinoco Tribune
Misión Verdad is a Venezuelan investigative journalism website with a socialist perspective in defense of the Bolivarian Revolution
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