Democracy in crisis

Democracy in crisis
The President of Venezuela, Nicolas Maduro has announced that he will banning the main opposition parties in the country from participating in the next Presidential election..

The President of Venezuela, Nicolas Maduro has announced that he will banning the main opposition parties in the country from participating in the next Presidential election.

It is slated to take place in 2018.

Background

There has been a steep deterioration in Venezuelan economy since 2013. The drop in the oil prices has added to the problems faced by the government. Over a 100 people have been killed in the multitude of protests that have taken place in 2017 and thousands have been injured. Many more have fled to Colombia to escape the violence and the shortage in food supplies. From 2014, there have been recurrent protests against the government because of many of these issues. Detractors blame the current economic policies for the crisis. People are also disillusioned by the high level of urban violence prevalent in the nation. The nation’s economy has become increasingly unstable and there is hyperinflation in the region. In August 2017, CNN reported that 3,164 Bolivars was equivalent to $1.

There have been fears that Maduro is overriding the nation’s democratic systems. He has instated the controversial Constituent Assembly. This new body is all-powerful and has the mandate to re-write the country’s constitution. Countries like Colombia, USA, and Mexico have refused to recognize the legitimacy of this vote.

 

Analysis

In August 2017, reports emerged that Venezuela’s opposition leaders had reportedly been taken from their homes. According to tweets from family members, Leopoldo Lopez and Antonio Ledezma were rounded up in the middle of the night and taken in custody by the nation’s armed forces.

The President of Venezuela, Nicolas Maduro has announced that he will banning the main opposition parties in the country from participating in the next Presidential election. It is slated to take place in 2018.

Maduro for his part has shrugged all criticism regarding his governing style. “A party that has not participated today cannot participate any more,” the President said while casting his vote. “They will disappear from the political map.” He was speaking after casting his vote in at the Mayoral elections in the country.

“The imperialists have tried to set fire to Venezuela to take our riches,” he said. “We’ve defeated the American imperialists with our votes, our ideas, truths, reason and popular will.” He added, “The other parties, Voluntad Popular, Primero Justicia, have disappeared from the Venezuelan political map and today disappear totally. Parties that did not participate today and have called for voters to participate in a boycott cannot participate anymore (in elections). That is the criteria that the National Constituent Assembly had put forward, constitutionally and legally. And I, as chief of state, support them.”

The President’s remarks and the Mayoral elections were sharply criticized by experts and analysts. “These were absolutely predictable results,” the pollster Luis Vicente Leon said on Twitter. “It’s absurd to think that an abstaining political force can win the majority of Mayorships.”

The Venezuelan National Electoral Commission has not yet commented on Maduro's statements.

Maduro’s statements come just days after he announced that in order to sustain economically, the country will be introducing its own form of cryptocurrency. The nation has been badly hit due to economic sanctions from the US.

Assessment

Our assessment is that despite the fact the favorability ratings for Maduro are low, he has accumulated unprecedented power in the nation. His latest actions have signaled that he does not hold democratic systems in high regard.

 

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