CARACAS – Venezuela’s Primero Justicia (PJ) party of former candidate Henrique Capriles said on Friday that it will reregister with the National Election Council (CNE) this weekend in order to guarantee opposition unity following the exclusion of the MUD opposition alliance from the reregistration process, an obligatory step for permission to take part in the elections.
The National Constituent Assembly, made up only of Chavistas, decreed in December that political parties that failed to take part in the last elections – the municipal balloting on Dec. 10 – but wish to participate in the upcoming presidential elections in the first quarter of this year, must reregister with the CNE or be barred from taking part.
“We put the PJ ballot at the service of all Venezuelans...in order to put a containing wall around a dictatorship that is destroying the lives of millions of Venezuelans,” the secretary general of the party, Tomas Guanipa, told a press conference.
The MUD, the country’s leading opposition coalition, had urged its supporters to take part in that election in support of its own ticket.
However, this Thursday the Supreme Court of Justice (TSJ) ordered the exclusion of the MUD from the election to avoid “double support” from citizens.
Lawmaker Jose Guerra, also a member of the PJ, accused the government of President Nicolas Maduro, who has already announced his run for reelection, of using the TSJ and the CNE to “make political parties illegal” so that those opposing the ruling Chavismo can be “attacked and suppressed more easily.”
In a statement to reporters, Guerra said that Maduro is trying to get rid of political organizations that oppose his government “in order to hang onto power even though he’s obviously in the minority.”