Caracas: Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez on 24 March announced he was to swear-in the first members of a new political party that would unify his coalition of leftist supporters.
He also called on politicians who disagree with his decision to create the Unified Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV) to “step aside.”
Chavez was re-elected in December with 63% votes. His supporters have full control of the unicameral legislature, the National Assembly.
In February the assembly granted him sweeping authority to decree changes in 11 key state sectors, including the economy, the military, transportation and oil.
He was elected with support from his own organization, the Fifth Republic Movement which is a coalition of small leftist parties as well as three more established parties: the social-democratic Podemos, the pro-labor Motherland for All and the Venezuelan Communist Party.
He has called for all those parties to be dissolved and merged into the new Unified Socialist Party to further his goal to build “a 21st century socialism” in Venezuela.
While the Fifth Republic group is no more, leaders of the other parties are reluctant to dissolve their parties, much to Chavez’s annoyance.
Chavez said that his new Unified Socialist Party “is the starting point of a new stage” that pushes in depth “all aspects of the Venezuelan revolution.”
More than 2,000 new Unified Socialist members took their oath on 24 March. On Independence Day, April 19, 10,000 more members are scheduled to take their oath and the party is expected to hold its first formal meeting on August 15.