Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro appointed a former Minister of Foreign Affairs as his party candidate in the special governor election held in the hometown of his predecessor and mentor Hugo Chavez
Maduro announced Jorge Arreaza as a candidate for the ruling party through a live broadcast linked to the stadium in the rural state of Barinas, as their new candidate promised them a full review of the needs of the community, it was crowded Supporters, they burst into cheers.
Superlano led by less than 1 percentage point against the current Argenis Chávez (one of Hugo Chavez’s brothers) on November 21, when he was disqualified. Since 1998, Argenis and Adán Chávez and his father Hugo de los Reyes Chávez have been governors of Barinas.
After Aginis Chavez announced that he would resign as governor and would no longer participate in the race, the leaders of the Venezuelan United Socialist Party held a meeting in Barinas this week to decide on a new candidate. After many people blame the election results on internal divisions, they need a united candidate.
“(This is) gives the Barinas community a golden opportunity to participate in the new governor election,” Maduro told the crowd. “At that private meeting, I publicly thanked him for his concession and facilitated the appointment of a new candidate to participate in the election campaign to save the Barinas government and win.”
The Venezuelan Supreme Court ruled on Monday that Superlano should not participate in the vote because he was disqualified from the administrative sanctions imposed in August because of his role as legislator from 2015 to 2020. The ruling did not explain why Superlano was initially authorized to participate in the voting, while other candidates were excluded from the election.
After most of the major political forces agreed to participate in the first ballot in many years under the supervision of EU observers, the disqualification made people further doubt the fairness of Venezuela’s electoral system. The Maduro government invited the inspectors, but after they issued a preliminary report criticizing the electoral system, they called them “spy”.
The court is one of many government agencies considered to be loyal to the Maduro government.
Although Chavez will not appear in the January 9 vote, the founder of the ruling socialist movement has always been there. Hugo Chavez was mentioned many times in his speech. There were two big photos of him on the stadium stage, and his connection with Areasa was also highlighted.
Arreaza will face Superlano’s wife, Aurora Silva, who is the father of a grandson of Hugo Chávez.
“In November, what happened here was that we were overconfident, and suddenly the department played a role in the decision,” said Maria Jimenez, the leader of the local party. “This is a call for the revolution to advance with the times. Barinas State is the cradle of revolution.”
The EU observer’s report concluded that compared with the country’s recent elections, the conditions for regional elections are better, but they have been compromised by the use of public funds and other actions aimed at benefiting pro-government candidates. The Ombudsman also pointed out that the election was tainted by the disqualification of opposition competitors.
Areasa, who was former Minister of Industry, promised that if he is elected, he will provide work and change.
“The President instructed me to listen to everyone’s opinions, and we will do so, because governments at all levels need to listen to the opinions of the people of Barinas,” Arreaza said. “It has a lot to say, a lot to criticize, and a lot to contribute.”