How do you solve a problem like Pereira?

Good old Maria Corina Machado. Today she was not allowed to register her candidacy due to the government’s push to have her barred from public office. So, instead, she announced that her replacement candidate would be Sociologist Isabel Pereira.

I didn’t know much about Pereira before today, but from the looks of it, she brings a resumé. She has a doctorate, has studied poverty for years, and at the same time is closely linked to pro-market NGO Cedice. Pereira is civil society through and through, and she has tremendous chops to be in the legislature. She has also worked closely with Machado in the past few years.

In other words, she’s a problem for the MUD.

A few days ago, the MUD announced that Machado’s replacement candidate would be selected by them, and not by Machado. Machado beat them to it, naming her replacement as soon as she could. The fact that she picked a grandmotherly Venezuelan with no political baggage and impeccable academic chops … is no coincidence.

The MUD would have to diss Pereira in order to impose somebody else. The risk is that if they diss Pereira, they would be dissing capable members of civil society who have been fighting in the trenches and defending the poor. The squeaky-clean Pereira is a problem for the MUD leadership – it’ll be fun to watch them deal with this hot potato.