Democratic Unity Roundtable

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Democratic Unity Roundtable
Mesa de la Unidad Democrática
Founded 23 January 2008
Ideology Big tent
Social democracy[1][2]
Social liberalism
Anti-Chavism
Political position Centre[a] to centre-left[3]
Colors              (Venezuelan national colors)
Blue primarily
Seats in the National Assembly
87 / 167
Seats in the Latin American Parliament
6 / 12
Governors
0 / 23
Mayors
7 / 335
Website
unidadvenezuela.org/

The Democratic Unity Roundtable (Spanish: Mesa de la Unidad Democrática, MUD) is a catch-all electoral coalition of Venezuelan political parties formed in January 2008 to unify the opposition to President Hugo Chávez's United Socialist Party of Venezuela in the Venezuelan parliamentary election, 2010.[4] A previous opposition umbrella group, the Coordinadora Democrática, had collapsed after the failure of the Venezuelan recall referendum, 2004.

The coalition is made of primarily centrist, centre-left, and left-wing parties[3] – such as the social democratic party A New Era – while also including two centre-right[a] parties. The main components were Democratic Action and Copei, the two parties who dominated Venezuelan politics from 1959 to 1999.

In the 2015 parliamentary election, the coalition became the largest group in the National Assembly with 112 out of 167 (a supermajority), ending sixteen years of PSUV rule of the country's unicameral parliament. In the 2017 Venezuelan Constituent Assembly election, the MUD boycotted the election, and as the National Assembly itself lost most of its power, PSUV effectively retook its parliamentary majority.[5]

In July 2018, Democratic Action, one of the largest and most distinguished parties of the MUD, left the coalition.[6]

Overview[edit]

The MUD was formally launched on 23 January 2008 and restructured on 8 June 2009.[4][7] In June 2009 MUD included 11 political parties, and was led by Luis Ignacio Planas, President of Copei.[4] 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.[8] 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").[8]

The MUD is supported by the Movimiento 2D opposition movement led by El Nacional editor and proprietor Miguel Henrique Otero.

Ramón Guillermo Aveledo[9] served as the MUD's Executive Secretary from March 2009 to July 2014.[10]

The journalist Jesús "Chúo" Torrealba became the coalition's current Executive Secretary in September 2014.[11]

The MUD declared common ideological points between its members in its National Unity Agreement. They support autonomy of State institutions. Furthermore, its members represent and foster ideological pluralism within the democratic Left. MUD supports freedom of work, property, press, and free education. It advocates decentralize power and federalization. It also promotes public security, defense of private property and economic freedoms, quality education, job creation, and job creation and fair distribution of income from national oil reserves. The MUD wants a foreign policy based on solidarity, especially Venezuela's neighbors. It also wants various policies to make Venezuela more democratic, especially in regards to reducing the institutional influence of the military and reforming electoral laws.

In early September 2012, David De Lima, a former governor of Anzoategui, published a document he said showed secret MUD plans to implement much more neoliberal policy, if elected, than their public statements showed. De Lima said the document was a form of policy pact between some of the candidates in the MUD primary, including Capriles.[12] On 6 September 2012, opposition legislator William Ojeda denounced these plans and the "neoliberal obsessions" of his colleagues in the MUD;[13] he was suspended by his A New Era party the following day.[14] Capriles said that his signature on the document was a forgery,[15] several days later four small parties withdrew from the MUD coalition.[16] One small coalition party claimed De Lima had offered them money to withdraw from the MUD;[17] De Lima denied the claim.[18] On 30 September, another opposition politician, Aldo Carmeno from the Christian-democratic party COPEI, withdrew support for Capriles, and accused Capriles of "double speak" and "tricking the Venezuelan people". Carmeno announced his support for Hugo Chávez.[19]

2010 legislative elections[edit]

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"[8]).[8] 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.[8] Several others of the nine, regarded by the MUD as political prisoners, were also nominated, in districts with a real chance of opposition success;[8] winning would require their release because of parliamentary immunity.[8] 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.[8]

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 (out 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.[20] Notable new deputies included María Corina Machado and Enrique Mendoza.

2012 presidential election[edit]

The MUD held an open primary election on 12 February 2012.[21] 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).[22] The other candidates on the 12 February 2012 primary ballot were:[22]

2015 legislative elections[edit]

Leading figures of MUD celebrate their two-thirds majority in parliamentary elections in December 2015 (from left to right Lilian Tintori, Freddy Guevara, Jesús Torrealba and Julio Borges).

In December 2015, MUD won 112 of the 167 seats in the National Assembly, a two-thirds supermajority.[23]

Member parties[edit]

Party name Spanish Acronym Leader Main ideology Seats in the AN International Associations
Justice First Primero Justicia PJ Henrique Capriles Radonski Progressivism/Humanism
33 / 167
None
A New Era Un Nuevo Tiempo UNT Manuel Rosales Social democracy
18 / 167
Socialist International
Popular Will Voluntad Popular VP Leopoldo López Progressivism/Social democracy
14 / 167
Socialist International
Radical Cause La Causa Radical LCR Andrés Velásquez Laborism
4 / 167
None
Progressive Movement of Venezuela (es) Movimiento Progresista de Venezuela MPV Simón Calzadilla Progressivism
4 / 167
None
Project Venezuela Proyecto Venezuela PRVZL Henrique Salas Feo Liberal conservatism
2 / 167
International Democrat Union, Union of Latin American Parties
Clear Accounts (es) Cuentas Claras CC Vicencio Scarano Progressivism
2 / 167
None
Progressive Advance Avanzada Progresista AP Henri Falcón Democratic socialism
2 / 167
None
Come Venezuela Vente Venezuela VV María Corina Machado Liberalism
1 / 167
None
Fearless People's Alliance Alianza Bravo Pueblo ABP Antonio Ledezma Social democracy
1 / 167
None
Emergent People (es) Gente Emergente GE Julio César Reyes (es) Social democracy
1 / 167
None
National Convergence Convergencia Nacional CN Juan José Caldera (es) Christian democracy
0 / 167
Christian Democrat Organization of America (observer)
Movement for a Responsible, Sustainable and Entrepreneurial Venezuela Movimiento por una Venezuela Responsable, Sostenible y Emprendedora MOVERSE Alexis Romero Green politics
0 / 167
None
Ecological Movement of Venezuela Movimiento Ecológico de Venezuela MOVEV Manuel Díaz Green politics
0 / 167
Global Greens, Federation of the Green Parties of the Americas

Former member parties[edit]

The Christian democratic Copei party was not a member of the coalition in the 2015 parliamentary election, despite having been a founding member of the MUD.

The Communist Red Flag Party was a member of the coalition and supported the opposition candidate Henrique Capriles Radonski in the 2012 presidential election, but due to different objectives, the Red Flag Party stepped out of the MUD.[24]

Electoral results[edit]

Presidential elections[edit]

Election year Name # of
overall votes
% of
overall vote
2012 Henrique Capriles Radonski 6,591,304 44.31 (#2)
Member of Justice First party in coalition. Lost.
2013 Henrique Capriles Radonski 7,363,980 49.12 (#2)
Member of Justice First party in coalition. Lost.

Parliamentary elections[edit]

Election year # of
overall votes
% of
overall vote
# of
overall seats won
+/– Leader
2010 5,334,309 (#2) 47.2%
67 / 165
Ramón Guillermo Aveledo
2015[25] 7,707,422 (#1) 56.3%
109 / 167
Increase 32
Jesús Torrealba

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

a MUD includes two centre-right parties which promote left-wing ideological pluralism

References[edit]

  1. ^ Fernández Álvarez, Ángel (2018). Salvemos Venezuela. And that, the truth, is a latent risk because the only thing that appears until now, is the plan of the social-democratic parties united in the so-called MUD. 
  2. ^ "Ante la situación en Venezuela ¿Podrá continuar la MUD sin definir un líder?". MiamiDiario (in Spanish). 8 March 2017. Retrieved 29 April 2018. the Democratic Unity Table (MUD), when it was formed as the coalition of the opposition parties of Venezuela, to face the government of the late Hugo Chávez . But it has been a difficult path that has transited until now, because they converge 20 parties ranging from social democracy to liberalism 
  3. ^ a b "AFP: La oposición venezolana, un bloque contra Maduro dividido y debilitado". El Nacional (in Spanish). 26 October 2017. Retrieved 30 April 2018. Gathered in the Democratic Unity Table (MUD), which was born in 2008 to confront President Hugo Chávez, the opposition includes center, center-left, left parties and dissidents of Chavismo 
  4. ^ a b c "Partidos de oposición conforman Mesa de la Unidad Democrática". Noticiasve.com. Archived from the original on 2010-08-25. Retrieved 2010-08-21. 
  5. ^ "Venezuela opposition boycotts meeting on Maduro assembly, clashes rage". 8 May 2017. Retrieved 19 August 2017. 
  6. ^ "Ramos Allup: No vamos a construir ninguna otra plataforma". El Nacional (in Spanish). 2018-07-05. Retrieved 2018-07-06. 
  7. ^ (in Spanish) Candidatos unitarios ya tienen acuerdo de país para campaña El Universal. 24 de enero de 2008.
  8. ^ a b c d e f g h IPS News, 27 April 2010, Opposition Plans Return to Venezuelan Congress
  9. ^ Ramón Guillermo Aveledo, 9 March 2012, Opposition Is Winning
  10. ^ "Aveledo revela por qué renunció a la MUD y ratifica que no volverá al cargo". Noticia al Día. 6 August 2014. Retrieved 27 September 2014. 
  11. ^ "Chúo Torrealba aceptó la secretaría ejecutiva de la MUD y anunció "gran acto de calle"". Noticias24.com. 24 September 2014. Retrieved 27 September 2014. 
  12. ^ (in Spanish) Últimas Noticias, 6 September 2012, Aseguran que Capriles R. tiene un plan distinto al que dice
  13. ^ (in Spanish) Últimas Noticias, 6 September 2012, UNT: Ojeda "se puso al margen" de este partido
  14. ^ (in Spanish) El Tiempo, 7 September 2012, UNT suspendió a William Ojeda tras criticar supuesto "paquete" de la MUD
  15. ^ Venezuelanalysis.com, 11 September 2012, "Electoral Campaign in Venezuela Advances, Chavez Rejects Opposition's Neoliberal Package". venezuelanalysis.com
  16. ^ Venezuelanalysis.com, 12 September 2012, Venezuelan Opposition “Falling to Pieces” as Four Parties Withdraw Electoral Support
  17. ^ (in Spanish) Últimas Noticias, 11 September 2012, Denuncian que De Lima pagó a partidos para retirar apoyo a HCR
  18. ^ (in Spanish) Últimas Noticias, 12 September 2012, De Lima niega haber ofrecido dinero a partidos minoritarios
  19. ^ Another Venezuelan Opposition Leader Withdraws Support, Claiming Capriles is a “Photocopy” of Chavez. venezuelanalysis.com.
  20. ^ [1]"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.".
  21. ^ de la Rosa, Alicia (12 February 2012). "Henrique Capriles wins opposition primaries in Venezuela". El Universal. Retrieved 2012-02-20. 
  22. ^ a b c d e f "A total of 3,040,449 votes were cast in opposition primary election". El Universal. 13 February 2012. Retrieved 2012-02-20. 
  23. ^ Vyas, Kejal; Luhnow, David. "Venezuela's Opposition Secures Supermajority Against Ruling Party". Wall Street Journal. ISSN 0099-9660. Retrieved 2015-12-09. 
  24. ^ Noticia al Dia (eds.). "Bandera Roja se separa de la MUD". Retrieved 7 September 2014. 
  25. ^ ":: Consejo Nacional Electoral ::". www.cne.gob.ve. Retrieved 2015-12-09. 

External links[edit]