By Arthur Shaw

The National Electoral Council of Venezuela (CNE) reported that 6,465 candidates have registered to run in the elections in September, for 165 seats in the National Assembly.

VHeadline commentarist Arthur Shaw writes:

Wow! …6,465 candidates average out to something like 40 candidates per seat.

Does the excess of candidates help revolutionaries or counter-revolutionaries?

Will the excess of candidates dilute the revolutionary (PSUV) or the counter-revolutionary (that is, bourgeois-led opposition) vote?

The revolutionary tactic is to run only one candidate for each seat in the hope that the revolutionary sector of the working class will concentrate its votes for this single candidate and thus give the single revolutionary candidate the most votes and the victory. The revolutionaries pray that the counter-revolutionaries will adopt the opposite tactics, that is, the revolutionaries pray the reactionaries will run about 40 candidates for each seat and dilute the counter-revolutionary turn-out over a field of candidates, giving the revolutionaries the victory on a silver platter.

The data doesn’t let us say whether God or some other divine being answered the prayers of the revolutionaries for dilution of the counter-revolutionary vote because the excess of candidates may be interpreted in two ways … either a Venezuelan electoral peculiarity or a dilution.

Some Venezuelans, it seems, like to run for public office … their running has nothing to do with winning or losing. They only want to run. To accommodate these Venezuelans who like to run, Venezuelans organize and register hundreds of political parties so that a candidate can easily find a place on a ticket. Presently, there are about 700 parties … more than enough … registered with National Electoral Counci (CNE).

So, these 6,465 candidates may express this peculiarity of some Venezuelans for running … or … the 6,465 may be dilution.

The bourgeois media in Venezuela and the USA tell us that the opposition made deal for a unified campaign among its 40 parties. The terms of the deal were supposed to be that about 30 of the opposition’s 40 parties would not field candidates at all in order to improve the odds of opposition victory. That the 10 opposition parties that would field candidates would cut up among themselves the 87 electoral districts. And, a party entitled to run candidates would only field candidates in electoral districts assigned to the party.

Given the rumors of this deal for a unified opposition campaign in the bourgeois media, everybody was surprised when the opposition staged a farce called a primary election in April 2010 in which reactionary candidates sought the opposition’s nomination in only 15 of the 87 electoral districts. Only about 300,000 reactionary voters turned out for the opposition primary election. Two weeks later, the PSUV held its May 2010 primary election which attracted 2.6 million voters who nominated candidates in all 87 electoral districts.

So, the question seems to be whether most of the 6,465 candidates, who registered for 165 legislative seats up for grabs in September, are representatives of the opposition or mere expressions of electoral peculiarity that involve a mere love of running for office?

We cannot be sure but it sure seems that the 30 parties in the opposition that agreed not to run candidates are indeed running candidates either in the parties’ name or in the name some front group.

Again, we cannot be sure but it sure seems that the 10 parties entitled to run candidates, under the unified campaign deal, are running candidates in electoral districts assigned to them and, in violation, of the deal, running candidates in districts not assign to the party.

The tactics of the opposition are so confusing. It’s hard to make heads or tails out of them. The bourgeois media aren’t any help in understanding these tactics. Some people believe that not even the opposition understands what the opposition is doing or trying to do.

Let’s step back and try to get an overall picture of the September race.

There are 165 seats in the National Assembly up for grabs. The revolutionaries want to hold on to their two-thirds majority in seats, because a two-third majority is required to amend certain laws called organic laws. So, the revolutionaries got to win, at least, 109 of the 165 seats. The opposition is trying to get, at least, 57 of the 165 seats to prevent a two-thirds revolutionary majority. The 165 seats will be filled like this … 110 seats contested by individuals in 87 electoral districts, 52 seats contested by lists submitted by parties in the various states and 3 seats contested by indigenous candidates before the indigenous sector of the electorate. The counter-revolutionaries are expected to get their seats out the 110-seat group that are individually contested. Revolutionaries are believed to have an edge with 52 candidates chosen by proportional representation and the 3 indigenous candidate. To keep their two-thirds majority, the revolutionaries will have to get a good chunk of the seats in the 52-seat group filled by lists submitted by parties at the state level.

The 110 seats that are individually contested drew 5,245 of the total 6,465 candidates registered with the electoral council.

So, if the 40 parties which compose the opposition are welching on their rumored deal for a unified campaign, then the deal-breakers are part of 5,245 candidates seeking 110 seats available to candidates in their individual capacity.

Will the various counter-revolutionary candidates coordinate their campaigns against the single PSUV candidate or will the counter-revolutionary deal-breakers stab each other in back and spit on each other?

Logic suggests that the counter-revolutionaries are running as much against each other as against the single revolutionary candidate in the race. So, if one of the counter-revolutionaries in the pack pulls away from the pack in name recognition or candidate visibility, the pack is likely to stab him in back or, at least, spit on the frontrunner. The counter-revolutionary candidate who pulls down, tears up, and defaces more campaign materials of his counter-revolutionary opponents is the candidate who is most likely to emerge as the frontrunner in the pack. These were tactics that opposition candidates used in their poorly-attended April 2010 primary elections.

The opposition may be nonchalant about the candidate situation because the opposition isn’t doing candidate-based or driven campaign. The opposition may be doing an issue- or media-based campaign in which the central propaganda line of the bourgeois media is “The economy is breaking down.”

Of course, no “breakdown” is happening or about to happen.

In other words, the campaign isn’t about candidates, rather it’s about the alleged “breakdown.”

If this is what the opposition, the bourgeois media, and US imperialists are up to, then the revolutionaries in proletarian media and so-called “community” media just have show the electorate the many economic successes of the revolution, which the bourgeois media either never mentions or always denies.

Socialism is a transitional combination of capitalist and non-capitalist sectors of the economy. The capitalist sector in Venezuela is being sabotaged by capitalists in the hope of manipulating the September election. But the economy isn’t breaking down.

Indeed, the non-capitalist sector is flourishing.

Inflation in May 2.6% … first five months 14.2%

The Central Bank of Venezuela (BCV) and the National Statistics Institute (INE) have released the latest inflation figures. In May, inflation was 2.6%, which comes as a relief to the government after April’s disastrous 5.2% figure.

The total inflation for the first five months stands at 14.2%, which is 5.3 points more than it was for the same period in 2009.

The factors that helped bring down inflation in May were housing services (0.7%), rents (0.9%), clothes and shoes (1.1%), communications (1.2%), educational service (1.4%), health (2.1%), home equipment (2.2%).

Alcoholic beverages and tobacco were up 4.4%, along with transport 3.5%, restaurants and hotels 3.2%, non-alcoholic beverages and food stood at 3.3%.

The government’s readjustment of prices in May contributed to that month’s lower inflation rate.