Chavismo’s one-man primary is over

Merida State Governor Marcos Díaz Orellana is one of the six Chavista governors replaced for the 16-D election.

One election is over but another one is around the corner: on December 16th, voters will vote for all State Governors and Legislative Councils. The MUD chose all its candidates months in advance, through its February 12th primary.

With some exceptions like Carabobo, the list of candidates representing the PSUV and its allies was put on hold, as the Presidential Election came first.

With Chávez’s re-election now confirmed, the clock was ticking for them as filing deadlines loomed. But they can breathe easier as the final results of the neurological primary (the one inside Chávez’s head) are now out.

The highlight of the announcement is that six incumbent Chavista governors were dropped: Anzoátegui (Tarek William Saab), Aragua (Rafael Isea), Cojedes (Teodoro Bolívar), Guárico (Luis Gallardo), Mérida (Marcos Díaz Orellana) and Sucre (Enrique Maestre). In all but one of those states went red on October 7th.

Their replacements are all current or former ministers: Interior Minister Tarek El Aissami will finally run in Aragua (he was the earlier choice for Tachira), former minister Ramón Rodríguez Chacín could take the place of late governor William Lara in Guarico and Aristóbulo Istúriz will run in Anzoátegui, very different from four years ago when he lost the race for Metropolitan Mayor of Caracas.

But other questioned governors retained the confidence of the comandante presidente, as the cases of Francisco Rangel Gómez in Bolívar, Wilmar Castro Soteldo in Portuguesa or Hugo Cabezas in Trujillo. Matter of fact, 43% of Chavismo’s candidates are former military men. Another interesting choice was former head of the SENIAT Jose Gregorio Vielma Mora who was sent on a kamikaze mission to Tachira, possibly the opposition’s one truly safe seat in the country.

The president’s brother will run again in Barinas while former Delta Amacuro governor Yelitza Santalella will run in Monagas (the only three-way race, including the dissident Chavista governor “El Gato” Briceño) instead of Diosdado Cabello and former VP Elias Jaua will face ex-presidential candidate Henrique Capriles in Miranda.

The campaign for the 16-D election starts on November 1st. Here’s the list of State races.

45 thoughts on “Chavismo’s one-man primary is over

  1. About Tachira, the opposition is going divided. Some guy from UNT is running too, endangering whats probably the surest bet to win from the opposition.


  2. There’s another three-way race: the chavistas in Mérida didn’t like the guy the PSUV sent this time around so the PCV and Tupamaros brought in former governor Florencio Porras.

    At this point, I don’t know what will happen. Nobody likes Lester because he’s done a terrible job as mayor, but the divided chavista vote might just give him the victory. On the other hand, Florencio’s track record is OK; his chances aren’t bad.


  3. On a different note, how does CChr see the country’s mood?

    After 7-O a lot of people is sad/down for losing, and chances are, if they don’t go to vote, it’s a sure loss for oppo.

    Also, will the movilization maquinaria put in place for 7-O act again on 16-D? if so, the opposition will be in problems because even if the chavista voter will not be as motivated to vote for chavez’s candidate, they will be taken to vote for PSUV, just like cattle, just like on 7-O.

    This elections could be critical for the future of the country because, like I have stated before, should the oppo win the states where it lost for less than the nationwide margin, chavez would have to deal with almost half the states against him, and if the oppo wins this, then for mayoral elections next year could complete the picture of a bluish venezuela with the reddest president.

    By forcing chavez to deal with that much opposition, he will have to either concede (not likely) or ouright bypass local governments, either by ledezmaso or by a referendum a la 2007, reorganizing the country in comunas and stuff, and with half the country opposing it, it will be much more difficult for him to get that referendum approved.

    If the oppo loses these coming electins, chavez will be strenghtened and will, as he says, “deepen the socialism”, expect referendums and reformas to the constitution and utter screwance for the general population, weakening the oppo the most since 2004 and reducing it to almost nothing…

    Please oh please, let the latter not to happen, cheer people up, the attitude towards the defeat in the presidentials should be, as de devil says: “dont get mad, get even”.


    • Quick update

      Yesteday was pablo perez’s registration as candidate for governor, today is for arias cardenas

      Right now, there ar LOTS of buses, trucks and cars parked in the street, I mean, 2 long blocks filled with them, and arias seems to have way, way, WAY more people than pablo yesterday.

      Of course, if anything, we have learned that marcha does not translate directly to votes, but this is a confirmation on what I state regarding the movilization machinery at the PSUV and it’s candidate’s disposal

      Oppo has to come out with a way to counter this… AND beat voter apathy.

      Tough times ahead indeed, I dare to say, more than presidentials, it seems…


      • I said it on Daniels blog and im saying it now, the campaign for Arias Cardenas started a LONG time ago. He’s basically treated as the governor already, and he’s on every tv channel.

        If the opposition keeps trying to win the democratic way, well, we’re dead.


    • The bggest concern should be the use of the state resources to black-mail people. The PSUV will use the lists of beneficiaries of the misiones and the Mision Vivienda waiting list to extort some votes out of the people once again in December. What the guys are supposed to do if the benefits/rewards of the new misiones – house/appartament or cash transfer – are conditioned on voting and winning the election?
      There’s no room for optimism in the coming elections, unfortunately…


  4. Strange, very strange that Chávez is sending his ministers for governors. It means that he is opening space to change his Ministries.

    Thank you Gustavo, you are a very good journalist. Clear and to the point.


    • Thanks, Bruni. Small fact: Some of those ministers won’t be able to vote on 16-D, as they vote in Caracas or in other states, different of the places where they’re sent. The voting roll will be the same used on 7-O.


  5. Does anyone else think that if the opposition has a good to great result the 16D Chavez will do a referendum in order to not only change the part about the succession but also to remove governors and major? Am I way paranoid?


    • I really don’t think Chávez will do any referendum.

      In 2006 he won by 63 almost 64% of the vote and yet he lost the Reforma in 2007 by 52% because people did not followed him.

      He now won by just 55%. Do you think that he will lose the precious time that he has left in preparing a Referendum that he is not sure to win so that someone else has an easier time supplanting him?

      I don’t.

      1.- Chávez agenda is a personal agenda. He is not the type to do things for others.
      2.- Chavistas vote for Chávez in Presidential elections, all the other elections are not as important in people’s mind
      3.- The results obtained in the Presidential election are much worse than in 2006


      • I think than in case he is preparing a succession, they would come up with some excuse saying that is technically impossible to hold elections in 30 days with the help of the CNE and the TSJ in to give Maduro some time to campaign, Otherwise that amendment and referendum would reek of desperation and fear and in case they lost is, it would be much more difficult to win a presidential election after a defeat in that referendum


    • Truth be told, the Governorship of the Federal District (now Capital District) has never been part of direct elections, even after 1989 when state governorships opened to this system. Venezuela has always relied to the classical definition of the Capital District, i.e. it is under direct control of a national government. I don’t blame Chavismo for sticking to this way. It’s been like this since 1864.

      Contrary to the rest of the country, Caracas is going to cast two votes on April 2013.


      • The 1999 Constitution created the Distrito Metropolitano as an entity to substitute the appointed Governorship of Distrito Federal for an elected Metropolitan Mayor. This was respected until chavismo lost the Distrito Metropolitano and created a new institution headed by Jacqueline Farías, who was not elected but appointed by Chavez, this institution took away illegally a good part of the budget and functions from the Distrito violating the Constitution and the will of the people along the way. So I do blame them for this.


        • It wasn’t illegal. The Constitution also states the enactment of an Organic Law for the Capital District and so they did, but unfortunately in detriment of the governability of Caracas because of opportunistic factors. In fact, both solutions have caused more problems than they’ve solved. Some day this bureaucratic salad that Caracas is will be put to rest once and for all.


          • But the Organic Law cannot violate whats established in the Constitution. If you go to the intent of the Constitution, the Distrito Capital was created because of the criticism of having an appointed governor for the Distrito Federal. If the Assembly creates a parallel institution transferring most of the functions and budget from the Distrito to the Jefe de Gobierno, then you are using the law to bypass something that the framers expressly wanted to change and I consider that unconstitutional. Of course the Assembly had some discretion in organizing the District, but no to the point of gutting the figure of the Alcalde Metropolitano favoring an unelected official (then you are messing with political rights and with issues of federalism)


            • Most of what you’ve written is your opinion and not actual fact, which is what I try to stick to. There was no unconstitutional act. A new law just repealed a former law, period. I suggest you take a look at them: “Ley de Transición del Distrito Federal al Distrito Metropolitano de Caracas (2000)” and “Ley Especial sobre la Organización y Régimen del Distrito Capital (2009)”.

              For all intents and purposes, I support neither. I’ve got alternative ideas of my own.


              • We are both stating opinions about the constitutionality of a law, that’s why judicial decisions are called opinions, there is no such things as facts in these discussions. There are articles of the constitution, which are broadly written and in many cases offer different interpretations. You chose one that say that the law is constitutional. I chose one that says that its not. I’m familiar with those laws.


  6. I’m going OT (again…) but this show what we thought will come, is already there:
    (courtesy of Aporrea:
    Irregularidades han llevado a la paralización de las obras en Ciudad Tiuna
    1.- Falta de materiales para cumplir a cabalidad los trabajos.
    2.- Se para la obra y no hay información por parte de la empresa matriz (MAQUIVIAL).
    3.- La incontinuidad en los pagos al personal.
    4.- La falta de seguridad social, higiene y salud.
    and others…


  7. Did not the MUD’s official primary elections in February see Carlos Oscariz nominated instead of Capriles?!!!

    The Devils Excrement thinks the Chavez victory will carry over in many of the governor races and there is criticism from the left wing rank and file militants and grassroots about a number of selections per what I said time ago and many Marxists in Venezuela and worldwide from a number of tendencies predicted a time ago( many, many months) that the D-16th could become a headache for the bureaucracy becuase of the way Chavez is viewed in a different light than them.

    Day late, dollar short.


      • Cort has a point. Chavez chooses, but Who and why is Capriles running as candidate for governor in Miranda when Ocariz won in the primaries ? I guess maybe the scenario of Capriles loosing presidentials was under a pact, but the MUD should explain, if it still exsists


    • The theoretical underpinnings of chavismo are really under rated. The proletariat will rank the theory of grated cheese with the works of Marx and Lenin. Sin duda. I am so impressed with the new ideas being generated in this exciting moment of triumph for the worlds most popular kleptocracy!


  8. Disagree with what the MUD did with Capriles. Downgraded Ocariz, reinstated Capriles into the race. And what if he has his ass whipped in the elections?


  9. concerned about the abstention vote among oppos in this coming election, after (a) dejection; (b) voter fatigue; (c) cries of fraud; (d) no expats (if their votes ever counted anyways).


  10. Points to consider: the Comando carabobo will still be in place on December 16th. This will ensure that most Chavez voters go to the polls. In the states where chavismo could lose – Tachira – there will be a three way race so as to let the chavista run through the middle.

    If Capriles loses in Miranda – that will be the end of his political career. Jaua has a good chance since of the 21 muncipalities in Miranda, chavusmo won 16.

    I go for a clean sweep of all 23 states this year for chavismo.


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