Democratic Unity Roundtable
|This article may be expanded with text translated from the corresponding article in the Spanish Wikipedia. (March 2013)|
|Democratic Unity Roundtable|
|Founded||23 January 2008|
|Political position||Big tent|
|Seats in the National Assembly|
|Politics of Venezuela
The Democratic Unity Roundtable (Spanish: Mesa de la Unidad Democrática, MUD) is a Catch-all electoral coalition of Venezuelan centrist, centre-left, left-wing and some center-right political parties formed in January 2008 to unify the opposition to President Hugo Chávez' United Socialist Party of Venezuela in the Venezuelan parliamentary election, 2010. A previous opposition umbrella group, the Coordinadora Democrática, had collapsed after the failure of the Venezuelan recall referendum, 2004.
In the September 2010 election for the National Assembly of Venezuela the MUD won around 47% of the vote nationally, however it only gained 64 seats (of 165) due to changes in population-vote distribution introduced by the incumbent national assembly that had a government party supermajority. In the same elections, the United Socialist Party of Venezuela won 48% of the vote and 98 seats, while the Patria Para Todos (PPT) party got only 2 seats.
The MUD was formally launched on 23 January 2008, and restructured on 8 June 2009. In June 2009 MUD included 11 political parties, and was led by Luis Ignacio Planas, President of COPEI. By April 2010 the MUD included around 50 political parties, of which 16 were national in scope (the rest regional), and had support from some other social organisations and opinion groups. The main parties included in MUD are Democratic Action and COPEI, the two parties who dominated Venezuelan politics from 1959 to 1999; the dissenting left-wing parties Movement for Socialism, Radical Cause and Red Flag Party; and more recently established parties Project Venezuela, A New Era, Justice First and For Social Democracy ("PODEMOS").
The MUD's Executive Secretary is Ramón Guillermo Aveledo a former congressman who was President of the Venezuelan Professional Baseball League from 2001 to 2007, and served under Luis Herrera Campins as Secretary of the Presidency (1979 - 1984).
2010 legislative elections
In April 2010 the MUD held primaries in 15 electoral districts, with 361,000 voters participating, and selecting 22 candidates (the remaining 143 candidates were chosen "by consensus"). The candidates chosen included María Corina Machado (of Súmate) and Iván Simonovis, one of nine police officials allegedly serving time for participating in the alleged 2002 Venezuelan coup d'état attempt. Several others of the nine, regarded by the MUD as political prisoners, were also nominated, in districts with a real chance of opposition success; winning would require their release due to parliamentary immunity. Manuel Rosales, the opposition's candidate in the Venezuelan presidential election, 2006 and now in exile in Peru due to corruption charges (which Rosales denies), was also nominated.
In the September 2010 election the MUD won around 47% of the vote nationally, and gained 64 seats (of 165). The leading parties in the coalition were Justice First and A New Era (with 10 seats each), and Democratic Action and COPEI on 8 and 5 respectively. Notable new deputies included María Corina Machado and Enrique Mendoza.
2012 presidential election
The MUD held an open primary election on 12 February 2012. Henrique Capriles Radonski won the opposition primaries with 1,900,528 (64.2%) votes of the 3,059,024 votes cast (votes abroad not included). The other candidates on the 12 February 2012 primary ballot were:
- Pablo Pérez Álvarez: governor of Zulia state, representing the A New Era party; received 30.3% of the vote.
- María Corina Machado: former Súmate president and member of the National Assembly of Venezuela representing the Miranda state since 2011; received 3.7% of the vote.
- Diego Arria: former Venezuelan representative to the United Nations (1990–91) and former governor of the defunct Federal District (1974–78); received 1.3% of the vote.
- Pablo Medina: politician and former trade union leader, supported by the trade unions; received 0.5% of the vote.
Notable constituent parties
- A New Era
- Justice First
- Democratic Action
- Project Venezuela
- Popular Will
- Progressive Advance
- Radical Cause
- Former constituent parties
- "Partidos de oposición conforman Mesa de la Unidad Democrática". Noticiasve.com. Retrieved 2010-08-21.
- "In Venezuela, the electoral system is set up in a way that favors the majority party as well as rural votes more than urban votes. Chavez counts on support from the over-represented rural areas. The system means that even if the opposition won at least half of the votes, it would actually seat considerably fewer than half of the parliament.".
- (Spanish) Candidatos unitarios ya tienen acuerdo de país para campaña El Universal. 24 de enero de 2008.
- IPS News, 27 April 2010, Opposition Plans Return to Venezuelan Congress
- Ramón Guillermo Aveledo, 9 March 2012, Venezuela's Opposition Is Winning
- Associated Press, 27 October 2011, Ex-Baseball Executive Key To Anti-Chavez Strategy
- de la Rosa, Alicia (12 February 2012). "Henrique Capriles wins opposition primaries in Venezuela". El Universal. Retrieved 2012-02-20.
- "A total of 3,040,449 votes were cast in opposition primary election". El Universal. 13 February 2012. Retrieved 2012-02-20.