NewsLatin AmericaThe Venezuelan opposition calls primaries on October 22 to choose the candidate who faces Maduro in 2024

The Venezuelan opposition calls primaries on October 22 to choose the candidate who faces Maduro in 2024

Members of the National Commission of Primaries announce the date of the opposition consultation, this Wednesday in Caracas.Miguel Gutierrez (EFE)

The National Commission for the Primary Election in charge of organizing a national consultation to choose the new leader of the Venezuelan opposition, facing the 2024 presidential elections, has set a date for October 22. The candidates will run between May and June and a way will be sought so that Venezuelans abroad can participate in the vote. The opposition is going through a serious crisis due to the divisions between the different parties, which have become deeper since the disappearance of the interim government of Juan Guaido at the end of the year. The election of a new leadership is urgent because it will be the one who faces Nicolas Maduro in the 2024 elections.

The date had been considered for months but a consensus had not yet been reached. The event this Wednesday, organized at the El Hatillo Amphitheatre, on the outskirts of the city, was attended by part of the opposition leadership that remains in the country – in addition to some pre-candidates and the Executive Secretary of the Unitary Platform, Omar Barboza- members of the diplomatic corps, academics and activists of the national democratic civil society.

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Although the consultation had initially been planned for the month of June, it was delayed to offer security in the organization of the event. For a few weeks the possibility of naming a consensus candidate had been rumored, but it will be the primaries that decide. The constitutionalist Jesus Maria Casal, Dean of the Faculty of Law of the Andres Bello Catholic University, president of the Commission, affirmed that “the die is cast.” “We will advance resolutely towards the goal set, together with the citizens who want political change,” he said.

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“From this moment on, the primary requires much more cooperation from everyone. With this announcement we put the process in the hands of the people,” he added. In addition, the commitment was made to organize a regulation to make it possible for the Venezuelan diaspora to vote.

The jurist reported that the organization of a joint technical commission with the National Electoral Council – in whose five-member board of directors Chavismo has a majority, with three – has been discussed, stating that they will defend the requirement to use the voting centers for the primaries and that special days of the Electoral Registry be organized.

It is unknown if the CNE that controls Chavismo has any interest in helping the opposition in their elections, as has happened in the past. But in case of not being able to work with the CNE “and if it is not possible to have the voting centers”, completely self-managed elections will be organized. The political leaders disqualified by the Comptroller General of the Republic of the Chavista regime, reported Casal, may apply, “because these measures are arbitrarily imposed.”

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Parties such as Vente Venezuela – whose leader, Maria Corina Machado, will stand in the elections-, with an intransigent political line, usually critical of the opposition’s procedures, announced that they would give a vote of confidence to the organization of the citizen consultation. In some participating parties, differences persist regarding automated or manual voting, purification of the Electoral Registry and collaboration with the CNE, tricky and potentially controversial aspects on which not all decisions have been made.

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