By Tamara Pearson for Venezuela Analysis
Mérida, September 12th 2012 (Venezuelanalysis.com) – Four small organisations withdrew their support yesterday for the opposition candidate to the upcoming presidential elections, Henrique Capriles.
The four organisations: Vota Piedra (Vote Rock), Cambio Pana (Change Friend), Unidad Democratica (Democratic Unity), and Mano por Venezuela (a Hand for Venezuela) formalised their decision with the National Electoral Council, meaning they will no longer appear on the ballot ticket.
The representative of Vota Piedra, Leonard Chirinos, expressed his disagreement with Capriles’ government plan to the press; saying that the majority of parties in the opposition umbrella group, the United Democratic Roundtable (MUD) weren’t consulted.
He was referring to a secret opposition government plan revealed recently by opposition leader David de Lima. Unlike the plan that Capriles presented to the National Electoral Council (CNE) and was made public, the revealed one is much more neoliberal in nature and will see the deregulation of banks, opening up of the economy to more private investment, and the reduction of state funding for public services and communal council projects.
Chirinos said the withdrawing parties “defend democracy” and had “felt excluded” from all of the electoral politics and planning for the presidential election campaign.
“We prefer to take a step back because we consider the current situation one that we don’t want, nor one that a large part of the population wants,” he said.
“We’re not calling for people to vote against Capriles, nor against any other candidate, we’re withdrawing from the ballot because we can’t tolerate this polarised system that they want to set up in Venezuela,” Chirinos added.
Today he spoke on state television, explaining that his party had initially decided to support Capriles because he won the opposition’s primary elections in February, however “that doesn’t mean we’re going to give him a blank cheque…without knowing what path he’ll take the country on”.
He also denounced today that he had received a lot of threats and “psychological pressure” from the opposition. He also said that he had been called a “traitor” and his family told that “they are going to burn us alive”.
He denied opposition claims that he had received $200,000 from De Lima to withdraw his support, saying no one would pay such a sum of money.
De Lima responded to the news of the four party withdrawal, saying the opposition is “falling to pieces” and predicted that “there will be more declarations, this is the start of a series of statements that there’ll be in the country against the candidature of Capriles”.
There are still 18 organisations on the ballot supporting Capriles. The MUD had discussed having a single ticket, or a united ticket where all parties appeared, but due to lack of consensus had to go with the latter.
Since De Lima released the real opposition plan, opposition legislator William Ojeda has also spoken out, criticising a “hidden agenda” within the MUD, and was expelled from his party A New Time (UNT) a few hours later.