The race for the National Assembly is up and running with the recently held MUD primary. The PSUV will have its own internal process on June 28th, and the CNE is already working for the general election, even if they insist in keeping the official date under wraps.
But in the last few days, the electoral authority has also taken a couple of decisions that affect dissident factions of Chavismo and put some obstacles to their possible presence in the next legislative election.
First up, the CNE denied the use of provisional names to nine political parties. Among those, there’s Marea Socialista, a faction of the PSUV who recently chose to go alone. This group strongly defends the Chavista model but blames the current economic crisis on the corruption and inefficiency of the central government.
The formal rejection was preceded by several months of delay. This final outcome didn’t surprise Nicmer Evans, one of Marea Socialista’s main promoters. In an Aporrea article, he blamed both official Chavismo and the opposition for trying to stop them, all the while insisting that the fight will go on. He also mentioned that the CNE did not give any explanation as to why their name request was denied.
Days before that, another political party saw how the electoral board got involved in its internal affairs: Vanguardia Bicentenaria Republicana (VBR). The CNE confirmed the expulsion of VBR founder (and former 4F co-conspirator) Yoel Acosta Chirinos. Chirinos was pushed aside last year by former Vice-Foreign Minister Eustoquio Contreras, because he disagreed with Nicolas Maduro’s actions. Ironically, Contreras was kicked out of the MEP party back in 2008.
One VBR member blamed Diosdado Cabello for giving the order to take the party from Chirinos. But he’s moving forward with a new political coalition (Republican Patriotic Alliance), which will include other Chavista dissidents.
As with PODEMOS and PPT before them, both Marea Socialista and the VBR are tasting how the central government likes to handle dissidents within their own ranks: By using the courts and institutions to bring them political misery. But these actions show the urgency of Chavismo to show signals of internal unity before the upcoming election.
However, the CNE went against an opposition party as well. In the same ruling, they blocked the formal registration of Vente Venezuela, the political party of Maria Corina Machado. Vente has tried unsuccessfully in the last two years to be a fully legal party. But delays aren’t quite new with the CNE. Just ask Voluntad Popular, which went into the same bureaucratic road before it was finally accepted.