Puebla, Mexico, November 10, 2017 (venezuelanalysis.com) – Supporters of a Chavista grassroots mayoral hopeful protested this week, after Venezuela’s electoral authority allegedly failed to put his name on the ballot.
Angel Prado was expected to run for mayor in the Simon Planas municipality of Lara state in the upcoming December 10 mayoral elections. His supporters say they collected around 9000 signatures, easily surpassing the 1,312 signatures needed to qualify to run. However, on Monday, the Prado campaign accused the National Electoral Council (CNE) of refusing to register his candidacy.
"They haven’t told him what requirements are missing, they only claim that they can not sign up on his own initiative," campaign spokesperson Nogaly Herrera told local newspaper El Impulso.
Herrera accused the CNE of discriminating against Prado for being too anti-establishment, and criticised the United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV) for nominating candidates without carrying out primary elections amongst its support base.
"We ask that in our municipality there be new people to lead us … Prado represents us, we do not want more impositions, " Herrera argued.
The CNE is yet to publicly comment on the matter, though the Prado campaign told AlbaTV the CNE had claimed they didn’t have enough time to verify the signatures, and had confirmed official PSUV candidate Jean Ortiz instead. Meanwhile, Herrera said sources within the CNE had said the Prado issue has left the council’s Simon Planas office internally divided. He alleged three local CNE officials had quietly resigned over the decision to not let Prado run.
Currently serving as a delegate for communes to the National Constituent Assembly, Prado has been praised by supporters as being to the left of the mainstream PSUV. He is also a spokesperson for the El Maizal commune in Lara state. His campaign platform for the December elections was set to be focused on tackling insecurity and high food prices and improving local infrastructure.
Venezuela's National Constituent Assembly announced last month that municipal elections will be held in December in accordance with the constitution. The PSUV is heading into the vote after winning a landslide victory in regional elections in October. The opposition is currently grappling with renewed internal division, and has vowed to boycott the vote.
A prior version of this article incorrectly stated: "Venezuela’s upcoming municipal elections were scheduled to take place in 2016, but were delayed by the CNE for unclear reasons ." In fact, it was Venezuela's regional elections that were due in 2016 but were delayed by the CNE, citing logistical complications arising from an opposition-initiated presidential recall referendum process. Municipal elections are due to be held this year.