The answer is both yes and no. Confused? Then, allow me to explain. It does exist, but isn’t allowed yet to participate in any election (at least on its own). Why? Well… it’s a long story.
Two months ago, I wrote a post about how our beloved electoral branch rejected the request of dissident Chavista movement Marea Socialista (Socialist Tide) to use that name on a temporary basis, while it fully registers as a political party. In the same ruling, the CNE also rejected similar requests from eight other groups, including one from movement Vente Venezuela, which is lead by National Assembly Deputy Maria Corina Machado.
Right after the 2012 Presidental Primary, Machado (who ran as an independent) formed Vente Venezuela, which defines itself as “a political movement of free citizens that share principles and values…”.
In order to be formally recognized as a political party, Vente went to the CNE on July 25th, 2012 to ask for the “temporary denomination”, which would allow them to organize and start its activities while the full administrative process goes through.
The Law on Political Parties, Public Meetings and Demonstrations (passed in 1964) establishes in its Article 8 that:
The groups of citizens that wish to constitute a political party must communicate to the civil authority of the district or department with the indication of the local offices that they will establish, putting a sign or indicative board with its provisional name with they will act, in its front side and fully visible to the public…”
Well, that request was not answered by the electoral authority for more than eighteen months. The excuse was that they were busy with three back-to-back elections: October’12 Presidential, December ’12 Regional, and the special April’13 Presidential. So, Vente decided to end that request in September of 2014 and start all over again.
Earlier this year, Vente Venezuela went to the CNE and introduced for a second time the request to have a “temporary denomination”. This time though, the CNE answered Vente’s petition in the Electoral Gazette 748 of May 13th, 2015:
Resolución N° 150226-071, mediante la cual se resuelve, NEGAR EL USO DE LA DENOMINACIÓN PROVISIONAL correspondiente a la organización con fines políticos VENTE VENEZUELA (VENTE) y sus alternativas, a nivel nacional.”
The response was NO. Their excuse? The online version of the Electoral Gazette doesn’t say anything.
To have a possible clue behind the CNE’s denial, we have to go back to Marea Socialista’s case. In an interview with NoticieroDigital’s Enrique Melendez, political analyst and MS’s co-leader Nicmer Evans speaks on the issue and indicated the reason behind the rejection of Marea Socialista was based on its name sounding more as a slogan:
The resolution published by the CNE in May of this year as a result of the decision taken by its board in February 2015 which responds our request, introduced in November 2014, was to deny the name of “Marea Socialista”, based on the Article 7 of the Political Parties Law.
That article says, more or less, that the political organizations can have a denomination always that it doesn’t disobey any religious precept, any precept that goes against any of the international relations with other countries and other cultures. Their allegation in the resolution is that (Marea Socialista) is a slogan and not a denomination.”
So, was Vente Venezuela’s rejection based on such grounds as well?
Maybe. Maybe not. But knowing how el Poder Electoral likes to handle decisions, I wouldn’t be surprised at all.
Voluntad Popular had to wait more than a year (including a first rejection) before getting the CNE’s OK. But some political parties are more equal than others: Alianza por el Cambio, the party of MCM’s back-up and talanquera-jumper Ricardo Sanchez only had to wait a single day.