Millions of members of the governing United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV) will hit the ballot box Sunday to vote for the left-wing party’s candidates for parliamentary elections to be held in December.
"Here are these candidates, they are men and women who come from the people, they were nominated by the grassroots (of the party), now it is up to you to choose,” stated Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro Friday during an event to celebrate the close of campaign.
Of the 1,162 candidates registered for these primary elections, 98 will be chosen to run as candidates on behalf of the PSUV, the largest political party in Latin America with over 7 million members.
The PSUV has gone to great lengths to promote inclusiveness in these primary elections, especially among women and youth, with only 15 percent of candidates above the age of 50 and more than half being women. This stands in stark contrast to the right-wing opposition coalition, known as the MUD, where more than 80 percent of their candidates are above the age of 50.
These primary elections will select the PSUV candidate in all 87 constituencies, whereas the right-wing coalition has organized open primaries in only 34 constituencies, with the remainder being hand-picked by party brass. The MUD also forced candidates to pay an inscription fee, as well as cover their own campaign expenses.
The socialist party charged no fee and covered expenses in order to ensure people of modest means could fairly participate.
A foreign delegation comprised of representatives from leftists parties throughout the region, including representatives from Argentina, Cuba, Brazil, Colombia Uruguay, Peru, and Nicaragua, will accompany these primaries.
Venezuela's electoral authority announced earlier this month that the parliamentary elections will be held on Dec. 6, 2015.