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Venezuela: Millions vote in socialist party primaries

Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro at the campaign close for primary elections for the United Socialist Party of Venezuela, June 26, 2015. Photo: AVN.

June 28, 2015 -- TeleSUR English, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Millions of members of the governing United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV) hit the ballot box on June 28 to vote for the left-wing party’s candidates for parliamentary elections to be held in December. "Here are these candidates, they are men and women who come from the people, they were nominated by the grassroots (of the party), now it is up to you to choose,” stated Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro on June 26 during an event to celebrate the close of campaign.

Of the 1162 candidates registered for these primary elections, 98 will be chosen to run as candidates on behalf of the PSUV, the largest political party in Latin America with over 7 million members. The PSUV has gone to great lengths to promote inclusiveness in these primary elections, especially among women and youth, with only 15 per cent of candidates above the age of 50 and more than half being women.

This stands in stark contrast to the right-wing opposition coalition, known as the MUD, where more than 80 percent of their candidates are above the age of 50. These primary elections will select the PSUV candidate in all 87 constituencies, whereas the right-wing coalition has organized open primaries in only 34 constituencies, with the remainder being hand-picked by party brass. The MUD also forced candidates to pay an inscription fee, as well as cover their own campaign expenses.

The United Socialist Party of Venezuela charged no fee and covered expenses in order to ensure people of modest means could fairly participate. A foreign delegation comprised of representatives from leftists parties throughout the region, including representatives from Argentina, Cuba, Brazil, Colombia Uruguay, Peru, and Nicaragua, will accompany these primaries. Venezuela's electoral authority announced earlier this month that the parliamentary elections will be held on Dec. 6, 2015.

62% of Venezuelans want socialists to keep governing: poll

June 28, 2015 -- TeleSUR English, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- The latest study from polling firm Hinterlaces shows that 62 per cent of Venezuelans want the ruling Unified Socialist Party of Venezuela to stay in government.

In the survey, conducted June 7-16 and based on 1200 interviews nationwide, Venezuelan respondents were asked: "Would you prefer that the government of President Maduro rectify and resolve, even in part the economic problems of the country, or that the opposition become government?" Of those that responded, 62 per cent favored the continuity of President Nicolas Maduro’s socialists, while 33 per cent of respondents favoured the opposition taking over reigns of government. The margin of error for the survey is +/- 2.7 percent.

For several months, shortages in basic goods and queues for subsidized goods have become a concern for many Venezuelans. President Maduro has accused opposition sectors and private enterprises of engaging in an economic war in order to destabilize his government, and has pledged to act against hoarding and speculation.

On June 28, the PSUV held primary elections for the left-wing party’s candidates in parliamentary elections to be held in December. The PSUV has gone to great lengths to promote inclusiveness in these primary elections, especially among women and youth, with only 15 per cent of candidates above the age of 50 and more than half being women.

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