The Primary Election of October 22nd, 2023 marked a milestone in the political history of Venezuela, as it was the first electoral process organized entirely by citizens and registered a participation that, with 26% of the voting booths scrutinized, is estimated that at least 2.3 million voters went to the polls, including those voting abroad.
By Correspondent lapatilla.com
María Corina Machado, from Vente Venezuela, was the winner with 93.13% of the votes, although more than 70% of the booths still need to be counted.
In the election organized by the National Primary Commission, chaired by Doctor in Law Jesús María Casal, and made up of other professors, civility, calm and temperance prevailed.
In the regions of the country, family homes, squares, paths, alleys and parking lots that functioned as electoral centers, overflowed with people eager for a change of government.
Inhabitants of Chavismo strongholds in San Félix demonstrated by voting in the Primary
The voting process began at 8:00 in the morning, but the common denominator in the states was that people began to organize themselves in lines up to an hour before the polling stations opened. With umbrellas, caps with the national tricolor, chairs, stools and even pets, citizens came to exercise their right to vote.
“I went out to vote for the urgent change that my country needs. Everything we are experiencing is wrong. We have no electricity, we have no schools, there is no healthcare, there is nothing to eat,” said María de Tencio, a 70-year-old woman in the state of Carabobo. Tencio’s wish was replicated in millions of faces that with optimism and hope participated in this primary election.
Despite the fear of some voters and public employees who were threatened being excluded from social benefits such as bonuses, Clap bags (food aid) taken away or being fired, citizens put aside their fear and left their homes spontaneously to express their will.
In Sucre, during the first hours of the process, there was harassment from security forces and government groups. At the electoral center of the Carirubana Municipality in Falcón State, the Sebin (Bolivaran intelligence Service) and the state police were present and took photos of the voters. However, citizens stood firm in the queues.
In Aragua State, Chavistas threatened to take away a home awarded to a victim from the Las Tejerías tragedy if she dared to vote in the Primary.
Additionally, in El Limón, Mario Briceño Iragorry Municipality, a group of armed motorcyclists supposedly affiliated with “Chavismo” (pro-government), assaulted the Valle Verde voting center, where two voting stations were operating. The attackers seized two urns, one of which was recovered, while the other, until Sunday night, remained in the hands of the criminals.
Except for this incident, the day passed without a hitch.
Bastions of Chavismo are turned around
In this Primary, the fact of massive participation of voters in municipalities where Chavismo has historically won elections stood out.
Such is the case of the Diego Ibarra Municipality, in Carabobo State, and sectors of El Chama, Chamita, La Carabobo in the Jacinto Plaza Parish of the Libertador Municipality in Mérida State, where people assisted en masse to the voting centers.
The same thing happened in the Chirica parish, a popular sector of San Félix, Bolívar state, where this October 22nd people wanted to participate in the change.
Flood of voters
Around 4:00 in the afternoon, the booth closing time for the day, some electoral centers in several states ran out of ballots as a result of the massive participation of voters. Members of the Regional Primary Boards had to look for leftover material from other voting centers and take it to the points where it had run out.
In much of the country, the polling stations were not closed at 4:00 in the afternoon, as voters were still in line. In some voting centers, the voting extended into the night.
The National Primary Commission issued the first bulletin around 12:00 midnight and is expected to issue the second official bulletin with the update of the votes during the course of Monday, October 23rd.
A Primary had not been held in the country for 11 years. The last opposition election was held on February 12th, 2012 and had technical assistance from the National Electoral Council (CNE). In that contest, Henrique Capriles Radonski was the winner, who this time withdrew his candidacy from the opposition primary elections.