On March 1st, the time to registrate candidates for the presidential elections in Venezuela ended. The current head of state, Nicolás Maduro, made his candidacy official. The former governor of the state of Lara, Henri Falcón, and four other officials also enrolled. The elections will be held on April 22nd, 2018.
Upon arriving at the headquarters of the National Electoral Council (Consejo Nacional Electoral – CNE) to register for the elections, Nicolás Maduro handed over his government platform, called “Plan de la Patria 2019-2025”, which includes the course of action for the future administration. “This year, 2018, is a key year for the history of Venezuela, and the presidential elections will mark the beginning of a new historic time of renewal, which is necessary for the Bolivarian revolution to build the future,” Maduro said. The President registered in the elections as a candidate of the Gran Polo Patriótico, a coalition that brings together more than ten political parties, among which are: Partido Socialista Unido de Venezuela (PSUV), of which Maduro is the president; Movimiento Somos Venezuela (MSV); and Partido Comunista de Venezuela (PCV). The slogan of his campaign is “Together everything is possible”.
Regarding the opposition, the most relevant candidate is Henri Falcón, a 56-year-retired military officer and former governor of the state of Lara, who was part of chavism until a few years ago. The politician disobeyed the decision of the opposition coalition, Mesa de Unión Democrática (MUD), of which he is a member, of not participating in the elections. This group considers that the minimum guarantees for transparent elections are not given. The Avanzada Progresista (AP), Movimiento al Socialismo (MAS) and the social-christian Copei parties supported Falcón’s candidacy. The candidate referred to Maduro as the “candidate of hunger” and stressed the lack of food and medicine and the serious economic situation of the country as the great shortcomings of the Chavez administration.
The remaining four candidates for the presidency are:
Reinaldo Quijada: Engineer, declares himself a follower of former Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez, but is critical of Maduro. He postulates because he believes there is an “immense disorder” in Venezuela that must be corrected. He is part of the Partido Popular 89 (UPP 89, opposition).
Francisco Visconti Osorio: Former Venezuelan aviation officer, he was involved in the failed coup d’état of 1992 and was part of the Chávez government in the early years. Later, he resigned his position when he considered that Chavez administration deviated from the real “Bolivarian Project”. He is supported by the Broad National Bolivarian Front (FANB, opposition).
Luis Ratti: Businessman and evangelical pastor, he is close to the ruling party since he supported Chavez and Maduro presidencies. However, he blames both Chavismo and the opposition for the critical situation that Venezuela is going through. He stood for election independently.
Javier Bertucci: Pastor of the Marantha Revival Church, was involved in the “Panama Papers” in 2016, although he defended his innocence. He declared that the country is in a serious crisis and that it is necessary to ask for help from the international community. The party Hope for Change (Esperanza por el Cambio-opposition) supports his candidacy.