Tibisay Lucena, the head of Venezuela’s National Elections Council, has been called many things before: a die-hard chavista; a machiavellian tool of the revolution; a sensible technician; a lover of fine London restaurants (ask me about that later). But one thing she had never been called before was “feminist icon.”
After today, that may change.
Today, Lucena announced that at least 40% of the candidates nominated to the National Assembly by political parties had to be women. She said the rule – agreed to by the National Elections Council – applied to both main candidates and substitutes, and for nominal as well as list candidates.
This, of course, has wreked havoc inside the MUD coalition. The MUD held primaries, and the winners in those primaries were mostly men. Furthermore, the MUD announced its full slate of candidates yesterday, and … wait for it … they were mostly men as well!
Now the MUD will be forced back into its internal negotiating table to come up with feasible female candidates.
Now, let’s put aside how grossly unfair this is. After all, you don’t change the rules after the political parties have spent months negotiating. And let’s forget any qualms we may have about quotas and how they limit individual freedoms.
If we put all that away, this is actually a good thing.
Now, the MUD will be forced to confront its woman problem. With few notable exceptions, the Venezuelan opposition is a boy’s club. The worst part about it? They don’t even recognize they have a problem.
Now … well, either they adapt … o no van pa’l baile.
The other good thing that comes out of this is that it forces the MUD to be nimble and adapt. This is just the first salvo in the Tibi vs. the MUD war that will keep us gripped in the next few months. If the MUD can’t deal with this, then it won’t be able to deal with the tsunami of bull-crap coming their way, courtesy of the Revolution’s institutions – candidates disbarred, judicial investigations, torture, harassment, etc.
They need to show their mettle, and they need to do it quickly. They have more than enough capable women in their ranks to fill Tibi’s absurd quotas.
They need to get the drama over and move on. It’s not like the slate of candidates they announced yesterday was making anyone’s hearts beat out of their chests.
Who knows? Maybe we’ll end up with a roster of more electable candidates thanks to this.
Update: The MUD’s response … is to change the topic: