So, of course, the decision to allow a primary in Miranda state’s escuálido heartland has set off an almighty rush for what are, clearly, the two safest opposition seats out there. Made up of Baruta, Chacao, El Hatillo, and the middle-class-bit of Sucre Municipality (Sebucán, La California, Los Ruices, etc.), and, conveniently, already the home of a good number of oppo types, Miranda 2 is just too damn tempting for people to resist.
At last count, Alberto Federico Ravell, Delsa Solorzano, Ramon Muchacho, Liliana Hernandez, Bonny Simonovis, Alfonso Marquina, Carlos Vecchio and Maria Corina Machado were all angling for these seats. More, obviously, are to come. Basically, if you have some kind of media profile, but you didn’t manage to get your name into a safe-seat in the Smoke-Filled-Room Primary, you’re gunning for Miranda 2.
I’m still struggling to work out the rationale behind the places chosen for primaries. As I’ve noted before, the Statewide List system creates 21 rock-solid, absolutely-positively safe oppo seats spread all over the country: there is simply no chance of the opposition getting less than 33.3% of the vote in Anzoátegui state, or Bolivar, or Táchira, or in most other states for that matter. So topping the opposition lists, in those states, more or less guarantees you a seat, meaning the only meaningful choice voters might have gotten would have come through a primary. No such luck, though.
I’m still also struggling to figure out how the actual primary will work, from an operational standpoint. The circuits CNE approved are weird-shaped: how to really explain to people that they get to decide who their candidate will be if they live in La Candelaria, but not if they live in La Pastora? Won’t it be hideously confusing? And how to explain the multiple-member constituency business in a way that doesn’t baffle people?
There are some major organizational hurdles to clear here, and precious little experience to fall back on. Now that María Corina Machado is running in the election rather than running the election, ¿quién podrá defendernos?