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|Deputy Leaders||Richard Mardo,|
|Headquarters||Edif. Pofili, Urb. Los Palos Grandes, Caracas|
|National affiliation||Democratic Unity Roundtable|
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The Justice First (Spanish: Primero Justicia) is a centre political party in Venezuela. Founded in 1992 as a civil association, it became a political party in 2000. Henrique Capriles was the candidate of the party in 2013 general election.
Justice First was created in 1992 as a civil association by a group of university students under the leadership of Alirio Abreu Burelli. The group was concerned about what they saw as a deterioration of judicial power in the country, and sought a reform of Venezuela's legal system. Abreu Burelli was magistrate of the federal Supreme Court of Justice and Vice President of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights of the Organization of American States (OAS).
The association entered the political arena during the 1999 Constituent Assembly of Venezuela, in which they presented a draft for the country's new constitution. Justice First became a political party in 2000, initially as a regional party, and registered as a national party with the National Electoral Council of Venezuela on 1 March 2002.
In the July 2000 legislative elections, five members of Justice First were elected as deputies to the National Assembly for a five-year term: Carlos Ocariz, Gerardo Blyde, Julio Borges, Ramón Medina and Liliana Hernández. Justice First participated in the last minute opposition boycott of the 2005 elections, so they had no representatives in the Assembly from 2005 to 2010. They contested the 2006 presidential elections with former congressman Julio Borges, but he dropped out of the race in support of Manuel Rosales, then governor of Zulia State, and former Mayor of Maracaibo.
Henrique Capriles Radonski was elected governor of Miranda in 2008. The party had six deputies elected at the 2010 parliamentary elections: Tomas Guanipa in Zulia, Juan Carlos Caldera and Julio Borges in Miranda, Dinorah Figuera in the capital district, Richard Mardo in Aragua, and Richard Arteaga in Anzoátegui.
In December 2019, in Operación Alacrán, the website Armando.info published an investigation on corruption among opposition politicians, leading to the expulsion of deputies, including Luis Parra, José Brito and Conrado Pérez, from PJ. On 2020, José Brito and Conrado Pérez filed a complaint in the Supreme Tribunal of Justice against the leadership of Justice First. The deputies asked to be restituted in the party, saying that there was no justification to be expelled, and that their due process, right of defense and presumption of innocence had not been respected. They also asked the high court to appoint a new leadership "that was in Venezuela", since the current one was in exile, and to summon new internal elections. The deputies were received by the president of the Constitutional Chamber and the meeting lasted a little more than an hour. Outside the Supreme Tribunal, a group of around two hundred people met in support of the deputies. El Pitazo reported that earlier in the morning, some persons were handing out shirts of the party, most apparently new. Several demonstrators interviewed by the outlet expressed ignoring the reasons of the meeting or the contents of the complaint introduced. In some cases, they affirmed having been taken by bus, could not say for long they were part of Justice First, did not know that Luis Parra was not present or declared being paid for assisting. The party's secretary general, Tomás Guanipa, declared that the deputies sought to give the party's electoral card to Nicolás Maduro. In January 2020, the disputed 2020 Venezuelan National Assembly Delegated Committee election took place to determine who would be the President of the National Assembly for the period 2020-21 period; pro-government MPs and the expelled PJ deputies voted for Parra while the remaining PJ deputies endorsed incumbent president Juan Guaidó.
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The Justice First party is a catch-all party for left-leaning and right-leaning individuals unified by a common desire to relax Venezuelan social laws and stringent authority which intrudes on the natural freedoms of Venezuela and democracy as a whole. The party includes everyone from social democrats to laissez-faire economists. Despite these differences, their opposition to the socialist Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro unifies them and prevents serious infighting. Due to the very diverse makeup of this organization, it is difficult for foreign commentators to analyze its properties and policies. However, some of their listed policies include increasing local autonomy, abolishing the "corrupt" Constituent Assembly, and passing tax cuts and welfare/pension funding increases. Other than that, the organization remains extremely vague.
- Ryan Brading (2013). Populism in Venezuela. Routledge. p. 132.
- Carlos Meléndez (2014). Juan Pablo Luna; Cristóbal Rovira Kaltwasser (eds.). Is ThereTrack in Post-Party System Collapse Scenarios? Comparing the Andean Countries. The Resilience of the Latin American Right. Johns Hopkins University. p. 182.
- Daniel Hellinger (2018). Eduardo Silva; Federico M. Rossi (eds.). The Second Wave of Incorporation and Political Parties in the Venezuelan Petrostate. Reshaping the Political Arena in Latin America: From Resisting Neoliberalism to the Second Incorporation. University of Pittsburgh Press. pp. 263–286.
- (in Spanish) Nunez Munoz, Ingrid and Pineda Moran, Nury (2003), "Nuevos Partidos, Nuevos Liderazgos: Primero Justicia", Cuestiones Politicas, 30, Jan-Jun 2003, pp45-74
- "Venezuela: denuncian a siete diputados de corrupción". Infobae. 20 December 2019. Retrieved 21 December 2019.
- Coscojuela, Sarai (16 January 2020). "José Brito, Conrado Pérez y Luis Parra empiezan la pelea por la directiva de Primero Justicia". Runrun.es (in Spanish). Retrieved 18 January 2020.
- González, Gabriela (16 January 2020). "Comienza la batalla por el partido Primero Justicia". El Pitazo (in Spanish). Retrieved 18 January 2020.
- "Hombre afirmó que recibió 15$ por asistir a concentración de Parra". El Pitazo (in Spanish). 16 January 2020. Retrieved 18 January 2020.
- Leonett, Vanessa (16 January 2020). "Tomás Guanipa: "Diputados expulsados buscan entregarle a Maduro tarjeta de PJ"". El Pitazo (in Spanish). Retrieved 18 January 2020.
- Saleha Mohsin (2020-01-13). "U.S. Sanctions Venezuela's Parra Over National Assembly Rift". Bloomberg. Retrieved 2020-08-25.
- Official website (in Spanish)