The Venezuelan opposition has announced that the primary elections to select the candidate to face Nicolás Maduro in the 2024 presidential elections will be self-managed and with manual voting, after discarding the support of the electoral body due to the resignation of several rectors.
Jesús María Casal, president of the commission in charge of the organization of the primaries, announced in a press release that “we will move forward with the organization of a self-managed primary.” He also emphasized that the voting would be done manually.
The commission had been negotiating with the National Electoral Council (CNE) the conditions to carry out the primaries on October 22 and expected a favorable answer this week, which did not happen.
Casal mentioned that the resignation of several CNE rectors and the perspective of its renewal further complicate the scenario. The renewal of the electoral authority will be carried out by the Parliament after the resignation of the majority of the current board, composed of three rectors related to Chavismo and two from the opposition.
Pedro Calzadilla and Alexis Corredor, close to Chavism, made their positions available with the purpose of seeking the designation of a CNE that represents a consensus. Tania D’Amelio, the third pro-government figure at the table, left her position in April 2022 to become a magistrate of the Supreme Court of Justice (TSJ).
The other two rectors, Roberto Picón and Enrique Márquez, linked to the opposition, did not resign, but the president of the Parliament, Jorge Rodríguez, proposed to elect “five new principal rectors and ten substitutes.”
Casal emphasized that the primary without the support of the electoral body is possible but will require the strong support of all the political actors involved. The main challenge will be to identify as many voting centers as possible.
Henrique Capriles, an opposition candidate running for the presidency for the third time, gave his full support to manual voting. On the other hand, María Corina Machado, also an opposition candidate who from the beginning advocated for manual voting, celebrated the decision and considered it an achievement of the people.