Politics of Venezuela
|This article is part of a series on the
politics and government of
Venezuela has a dominant-party system, dominated by the United Socialist Party of Venezuela and where other numerous parties exist. The governing United Socialist Party of Venezuela (Partido Socialista Unido de Venezuela, PSUV) was created in 2007, uniting a number of smaller parties supporting Hugo Chávez's Bolivarian Revolution with Chávez's Fifth Republic Movement. PSUV and its forerunners have held the Presidency and National Assembly since 1998. The Democratic Unity Roundtable (Mesa de la Unidad Democrática, MUD), created in 2008, unites much of the opposition (A New Era (UNT), Project Venezuela, Justice First, Movement for Socialism (Venezuela) and others). Hugo Chávez, the central figure of the Venezuelan political landscape since his election to the Presidency in 1998 as a political outsider, died in office in early 2013, and was succeeded by Nicolás Maduro (initially as interim President, before narrowly winning the Venezuelan presidential election, 2013). Venezuela has a presidential government. The Economist Intelligence Unit has rated Venezuela as "hybrid regime" in 2016.
Background to the current political landscapes is the development of democracy in Venezuela during the twentieth century, in which Democratic Action (ADˣ or Acción Democrática in Spanish, founded in 1941) and its predecessors played an important role in the early years. Democratic Action led the government during Venezuela's first democratic period (1945–1948). After an intervening decade of dictatorship (1948–1958) and the fall of dictator Marcos Peres Jimenezsaw ADˣ excluded from power, four Venezuelan presidents came from Democratic Action from the 1960's to the 1990's. This period, known as the "Fourth Republic", is marked by the development of the 1958 Punto Fijo Pact between the major parties (originally including the Democratic Republican Union, which later dwindled in significance), with the notable exclusion of the Communist Party of Venezuela.
By the end of the 1990s, however, the now two-party system's credibility was almost nonexistent.This was mostly because of the corruption and poverty that Venezuelans experienced as oil wealth poured in during the 1970s and the debt crisis developed during the 1980s. Democratic Action's last president (Carlos Andrés Pérez) was impeached for corruption in 1993 and spent several years in prison as a result. The other main traditional party Copei, provided two Venezuelan presidents (Rafael Caldera, 1969–1974, and Luis Herrera Campins, 1979–1983). Confidence in the traditional parties collapsed enough that Rafael Caldera won the 1993 presidential election with about 30% of the vote, representing a new electoral coalition National Convergence. By 1998, support for Democratic Action and COPEI had fallen still further, and Hugo Chavez, a political outsider, won the 1998 election.
Chávez launched what he called the "Bolivarian Revolution" and fulfilled an election promise by calling a Constituent Assembly in 1999, which drafted the new Constitution of Venezuela. Opposition attempts to unseat Chávez included the 2002 Venezuelan coup d'état attempt, Venezuelan general strike of 2002–2003, the Venezuelan recall referendum in 2004 and a last-minute boycott of the 2005 parliamentary elections. Chávez was re-elected in 2006, but narrowly failed to convince the electorate to approve a package of constitutional amendments aimed at deepening the Bolivarian Revolution. This resulted in losing the 2007 constitutional referendum.
The United Socialist Party of Venezuela (Partido Socialista Unido de Venezuela, PSUV) was created in 2007, uniting a number of smaller parties supporting Hugo Chávez's Bolivarian Revolution with Chávez's Fifth Republic Movement. The Democratic Unity Roundtable (Mesa de la Unidad Democrática, MUD), created in 2008, unites much of the opposition (A New Era (UNT), Project Venezuela, Justice First, Movement for Socialism (Venezuela) and others). Hugo Chávez, the central figure of the Venezuelan political landscape since his election to the presidency in 1998 as a political outsider, died in office in early 2013. Chavez was succeeded by Nicolás Maduro, initially as interim President, before narrowly winning the Venezuelan presidential election, 2013.
Chávez was granted executive power by the National Assembly to rule by decree multiple times throughout his tenure, passing hundreds of laws. Chávez ruled Venezuela by decree in 2000, 2001, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2010, 2011 and 2012. Between 2004 and 2006 alone, Chávez declared 18 "emergencies" to rule by decree. Chávez's successor, Nicolás Maduro, also ruled by decree multiple times since he was elected in April 2013. President Maduro has ruled Venezuela by decree for the majority of the period from 19 November 2013 through 2017.
There is a history of tension between church and state in the country. The Catholic Church has accused Chavez of concentrating power in his own hands. In 2009, in the Catholic Churches Easter address to the nation, the bishops said the country's democracy was in "serious danger of collapse."
In 2009 when Caracas, the capital, elected an "opposition" mayor the government gave control of his budget to an appointed official.
Venezuela elects at a national level the President of Venezuela as head of state and head of government and a unicameral federal legislature. The President of Venezuela is elected for a six-year term by direct election plurality voting and is eligible for re-election since the Venezuelan constitutional referendum, 2009) The National Assembly (Asamblea Nacional) has 165 members (diputados), elected for five-year terms. Elections also take place at state level and local level.
Most recent elections:
- municipal: Venezuelan municipal elections, 2017
- parliamentary: Venezuelan parliamentary election, 2015
- regional: Venezuelan regional elections, 2017
- presidential: Venezuelan presidential election, 2013
- constitutional assembly: Venezuelan Constitutional Assembly election, 2017
- solutions, EIU digital. "Democracy Index 2016 – The Economist Intelligence Unit". www.eiu.com. Retrieved 2017-12-01.
- Amnesty International USA. Abolitionist and Retentionist Countries. Retrieved 19 August 2006
- The Death Penalty Worldwide. InfoPlease. Retrieved 19 August 2006.
- "Historia de Venezuela en Imágenes. Capítulo VIII 1973 /1983. La Gran Venezuela". La experiencia democrática 1958 / 1998 (in Spanish). Fundación Polar. Retrieved 21 January 2007.
- "El tema: Historia democrática venezolana" (in Spanish). Globovisión. 28 November 2006. Retrieved 21 January 2007.
- "Ramón José Velásquez Mújica" (in Spanish). Centro de Investigación de Relaciones Internacionales y desarrollo. 21 September 2006. Retrieved 21 January 2007.
- "Venezuela grants Chavez power to rule by decree". Daily Nation. 18 December 2010. Retrieved 12 May 2016.
- Carroll, Rory (5 December 2008). "A family affair". The Guardian. Retrieved 12 May 2016.
- "Rule by decree passed for Chavez". BBC News. 19 January 2007. Retrieved 12 May 2016.
- "Hugo Chavez Fast Facts". CNN. 16 July 2013. Retrieved 12 May 2016.
- Diaz-Struck, Emilia; Forero, Juan (19 November 2013). "Venezuelan president Maduro given power to rule by decree". The Washington Post. Retrieved 27 April 2015.
- "Venezuela: President Maduro granted power to govern by decree". BBC News. 16 March 2015. Retrieved 27 April 2015.
- Brodzinsky, Sibylla (15 January 2016). "Venezuela president declares economic emergency as inflation hits 141%". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 24 February 2016.
- Worely, Will (18 March 2016). "Venezuela is going to shut down for a whole week because of an energy crisis". The Independent. Retrieved 12 May 2016.
- Kraul, Chris (17 May 2017). "Human rights activists say many Venezuelan protesters face abusive government treatment". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 22 May 2017.
- "Gobierno extiende por décima vez el decreto de emergencia económica". La Patilla (in Spanish). 18 July 2017. Retrieved 19 July 2017.
- Reuters News retrieved 22 September 2009
- The Tablet, "Bishop faces down threats from ruling party." 25 April 2009, p. 38