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The Venezuelan opposition meets this Sunday for key primaries, in search of the long-awaited unity

The rapprochement with the Maduro Government marks the previous week, with a review of sanctions and releases included

Supporters of the main Venezuelan opposition parties are called to vote this Sunday in primary elections from which a common candidate should emerge for the next presidential elections, with a view to forming a common front against Chavismo after years marked precisely by discrepancies. public among some of the main opposition actors.

“Whoever is elected will represent us in the 2024 presidential election,” reads the website of the National Primary Commission, created ‘ex professo’ for an appointment with which the opposition wants to close the cracks opened in the most recent stage, after the constitution of a government parallel to that of Nicolás Maduro and headed by Juan Guaidó did not translate into real change in the South American country.

Initially, thirteen leaders ran in this race, led from the beginning by Maria Corina Machado, leader of Vente Venezuela and one of the most recognizable figures of the opposition both inside and outside the country. Machado remains in the running despite the fact that at the end of June the Comptroller General of the Republic ordered her disqualification for 15 years due to her support for international sanctions and administrative irregularities, among other accusations.

Theoretically, she cannot hold any public office, but in recent months her figure has been consolidated and she has even achieved the support of other candidates such as Freddy Superlano, who last week withdrew his candidacy in an appearance alongside Machado. Superlano represented Voluntad Popular, a party made up of, among others, Leopoldo López and Juan Guaidó, who in January 2019 proclaimed himself ‘interim president’ of Venezuela with the endorsement of more than fifty countries.

Henrique Capriles, the last great unitary candidate of the opposition in a presidential election, who came close to winning against the late Hugo Chavéz in 2012 and Maduro the following year, has also withdrawn – in the second attempt he was somewhat separated from the current president. more than 220,000 votes–. In his case, he did point out that the disqualification that weighed on him could be a burden with a view to next year’s elections.

NEGOTIATIONS TABLE
The annulment of the various disqualifications is precisely one of the demands that the Unitary Platform has raised in the surprise resumption of contacts this week with the Maduro Government. Both parties closed an agreement in principle in Barbados for the holding of elections next year, in an unprecedented gesture well received by the various national and international actors.

This first pact was enough for the United States to temporarily lift sanctions on Venezuela’s oil industry and authorize the first flight of migrants returned to the South American country, while the Chavista authorities allowed the release of five political prisoners, including journalist Roland Carreño and former deputy Juan Requesens.

The United States and the European Union celebrated in a note together with the United Kingdom and Canada this “necessary step in the continuation of an inclusive dialogue process and the restoration of democracy in Venezuela”, although remembering the challenges still pending, while the secretary UN General António Guterres now trusts that all commitments will be implemented “in good faith” with a view to holding “inclusive, transparent and credible elections in 2024.”

“SELF-MANAGED” VOTING
The opposition primary vote is a “self-managed” vote that will take place “exclusively manually”, after the opposition commission has not agreed to the requirements posed by the National Electoral Council (CNE), dominated by Chavismo, to exercise of guarantor. The electoral body proposed an automated vote and the delay of the appointment to November 19.

The opposition, however, has made efforts to defend that it will be a transparent process and that its results, therefore, will be equally legitimate. Thus, it has established a series of conditions to participate, such as being over 18 years old and being registered in the Electoral Registry before May 31.

The organizers will set up just over 3,000 electoral centers spread across more than 330 municipalities – practically all of those that make up Venezuela -, while the process also includes voting for nearly 400,000 expatriates, about 55,000 of them in Spain.

In the case of Spain, there will be eight voting centers spread across as many cities: Madrid (Santísimo Cristo de la Victoria church), Barcelona (Centro Cívico El Sortidor), Valencia (Archena street), Santa Cruz de Tenerife (Fair Grounds), Vigo (Parish of Nuestra Señora del Rocío), Bilbao (Centro Castaños), Las Palmas de Gran Canaria (Plaza San Telmo) and Málaga (Restaurant ‘La Orquídea’).

The United States and the European Union celebrated in a note together with the United Kingdom and Canada this “necessary step in the continuation of an inclusive dialogue process and the restoration of democracy in Venezuela”, although remembering the challenges still pending, while the secretary UN General António Guterres now trusts that all commitments will be implemented “in good faith” with a view to holding “inclusive, transparent and credible elections in 2024.”

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