United Socialist Party of Venezuela Registers Officially as a New Party
Posted: Tuesday, April 22, 2008
by Kiraz Janicke
April 20th 2008
More than one year on since Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez first called for the formation of the United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV) as "a political instrument that puts itself at the service of the people ... at the service of socialism," the new party has officially registered with the National Electoral Council in time for the regional elections in November.
William Lara, the national electoral coordinator of the PSUV, explained that the PSUV has assumed the registration and funds of Chavez's old party, the Movement for a Fifth Republic, and as such "inherits the rights that applied to the MVR for being the principal political force in the country," including being the first party convoked by the CNE to chose its position on the ballot paper.
"We will be asking the CNE to place us on the top left hand corner of the ballot paper, the same position as the MVR," he added.
After a year long process of formation, during which, some 5.7 million Venezuelans registered as aspiring members of the new party, and a two month long founding congress that culminated with national leadership elections on March 9, the PSUV has for the past several weeks, been undergoing a process of selecting regional leaderships.
As part of the process, each active member in the grass roots 'socialist battalions' or cells of the new party was able to nominate up to three candidates.
According to Aristóbulo Istúriz, PSUV vice president for the Capital District and the states of Miranda and Vargas, an average of 58 PSUV militants from each socialist battalion, totalling some 725 000, participated in the nominations process that closed on April 6.
Out of the top 60 candidates nominated from each region, the national executive of the PSUV will then select a final 30, including 15 full delegates and 15 substitute delegates, for each regional leadership body, taking into account the representation of women and minorities. The results of the regional leadership selection process are due to be announced shortly.
The PSUV national leadership has also initiated discussions with coalition parties, including Homeland for All (PPT), the Venezuelan Communist Party (PCV) and the Electoral Movement of the People (MEP), among others, in order to form a Patriotic Alliance of all those who support the Bolivarian revolution for the upcoming regional elections for governorships and mayors.
However, first vice-president of the PSUV, Alberto Müller Rojas, explained that the Patriotic Alliance is not simply an electoral front, but a "strategic project" in order to contribute to the construction of a socialist government model.
Secretary General of the PPT, José Albornoz, concurred, "The behaviour of the Patriotic Alliance does not correspond only to the electoral act rather complies fundamentally with its strategic character."
Oscar Figuera, from the PCV added, "Within the alliance exists a commitment to a political project... we have begun to work towards an electoral campaign and the application of that project."
The selection of candidates for the PSUV and the Patriotic Alliance is scheduled for July the leaders confirmed. Although the exact method for selecting candidates has not been finalised the Patriotic Alliance is investigating a polling system to determine support for candidates.
In a speech at the School of Planning in Caracas this week, Chavez emphasised that the construction of unity of all those who support the Bolivarian revolution, is essential in order to obtain victory in the regional elections.
The socialist leader also called on the Venezuelan people not to give "political space to the enemy. If there are criticisms, it is necessary to make them, but we must not lose the spaces we have won. United popular power is indispensable."
He also called on people not to be duped by the demagogic campaigns of opposition parties that "are ultimately derived from Democratic Action and COPEI."
"Today there are candidates of the opposition who have dared to say they want to win the elections in order to improve Mission Barrio Adentro and other missions. Does anyone believe that our missions could exist with a capitalist government?" he asked.
Chavez reiterated that the candidates from the PSUV must be nominated and chosen by the grassroots and be accountable to the communities.
"Although we still have not selected candidates for the PSUV, it is necessary to put conditions on them, they must commit themselves to the project, not just to a slogan," he asserted.
These candidates, as well as functionaries who currently occupy posts in the government, and members of popular organisations, must dedicate themselves to confront the bureaucracy and pay attention to the necessities of the people Chavez explained.
"One of the deviations that we must confront every day is bureaucratization. We must attend to the needs of the people...No one can shut themselves away, rather we should be in the streets, listening to the people."
In this sense Chavez argued it was necessary to defeat the "anti-values of capitalism" and resolve basic problems such as access to clean water, food, housing, clothing, health and education for all the Venezuelan people.