Venezuelans are in for a long bout of political electioneering. The country's next elections don't?
Venezuelans are in for a long bout of political electioneering. The country's next elections don't take place until December 1978 -- more than fourteen months away -- but already several parties have named their presidential candidates. The latest party to begin its election race was the M.E.P. (Movimiento Electoral del Pueblo), a new Socialist Democrat party which held a public meeting at Caracas on Saturday (24 September).
SYNOPSIS: This is the first time the party has campaigned, and the main purpose of Saturday's meeting was to introduce their presidential candidate, Dr. Luis Beltran Prieto Figueroa. A former professor and well-known Venezuelan Socialist, Dr. Prieto received an enthusiastic welcome.
The M.E.P. is one of at least three left-wing parties challenging the ruling right-wing Democratic Action Party. But because the left is so divided, political observers say it presents no serious opposition.
The M.E.P. is seeking support from the student and professional sectors of Venezuela, and at Saturday's meeting Dr. Prieto outlined his party's policy . He told the audience that while Venezuela was the wealthiest Latin American country, the vast majority of people lived in poverty. He said "only a privileged few" received any of the country's wealth. The M.E.P. would spread the benefits of the nation's wealth, and return nationalised industries to the private sector so that small business could flourish again.
Since 1958 the ruling Democratic Action Party has dominated politics in Venezuela, with its major opposition coming from the Christian Socialists. But at Saturday's meeting there was certainly strong support for Dr. Prieto's party.
And with the elections 14 months away, the outcome's still anybody's guess.