Venezuela - Political parties

Before the formation of the existing political parties, political conflict in Venezuela was confined to the traditionally Latin American centralist-federalist debate, with few actual differences in governments. Since the late 1950s, however, a stable party system evolved. Each political group had its own ballot with its own distinctive color and symbol, so that illiteracy was not a barrier to political participation. Constitutional provisions barring the military from political involvement further ensured the stability of the party system and the continuity of elected civilian leadership. But Chávez came into office promising to dismantle the party system that dominated Venezuelan politics for more than four decades. While his left-of-center coalition remained firmly in control in 1999 and early 2000, it was not known how the new constitution and political reforms would affect other parties in the long run. All parties were allowed to compete for national, regional, and municipal posts in the proposed May 2000 elections.

Since 1958, the dominant force in Venezuelan politics was the Democratic Action Party (Acción Democrática—AD). It grew out of the socialist movement, which unified under the National Democratic Party (PDN). That party splintered, with a Moscow-oriented group forming the Communist Party of Venezuela (PCV) and the nationalist and democratic-socialist faction creating the AD.

The left has been fragmented throughout modern Venezuelan politics. After the split between AD and the PCV, the advent of Fidel Castro in Cuba caused further fragmentation. A group of AD members left the party to form the Movement of the Revolutionary Left (Movimiento de Izquierda Revolucionaria—MIR). The Armed Liberation Forces (Fuerzas Armadas de Liberación Nacional—FALN) took to the field and attempted a guerrilla uprising. The PCV remained loyal to Moscow and at times battled the FALN openly. All of these movements were denounced by the AD, and in 1962 the MIR and PCV were barred from political activity. The FALN, which never bothered with legal political action, was subdued, and with it hopes of a Castroite takeover died. The most recent development from the left has been the emergence of the Movement for Socialism (Movimiento al Socialismo—MAS), which took 10% of the vote for the Chamber of Deputies in 1988. MAS is an attempt to rejuvenate the left by a faction of the old PCV.

The right has been characterized by small parties without much chance of electoral success alone. Some have been able to form coalitions with larger parties to achieve some success within the system. One such party, the Democratic Republican Union (Unión Republicana Democrática—URD), has been a governing partner with the AD during the Leoni government (1963–68). The Committee for Free Elections (Comité de Organización Política Electoral Independiente—COPEI), also known as the Social Christian Party (Partido Social-Cristiano), is a Christian Democratic party, with the center-right implications of that movement. It has succeeded as an opposition party to the AD, occasionally taking advantage of splits in the AD's governing coalition or within the AD itself.

In 1947, the AD won the first free elections ever held in Venezuela. The PCV also fielded a candidate, as did COPEI. These three parties were outlawed during the dictatorship of Pérez Jiménez, and carried on their activities clandestinely. In December 1958, after Pérez Jiménez had been driven from power, free elections were held. The presidential victor, Rómulo Betancourt, formed a coalition government of the AD, COPEI, and URD.

The AD and COPEI reached several agreements over the years to cooperate with each other and to exclude the more leftist parties from the Venezuelan system. After the COPEI victory in 1968, Venezuela became a more competitive two-party system, with AD and COPEI competing for power. Agreements between AD and COPEI in 1970 and 1973 called for cooperation in appointive posts, so the competition has been controlled. AD and COPEI have dominated the system since, although the 1994 election of Caldera as the candidate of a four-party coalition, the National Convergence (Convergencia), suggested a movement away from the two-party arrangement.

Since 1998, Chávez, who came to power backed by the leftist Patriotic Pole, a coalition of parties that includes the Communist Party of Venezuela, has dramatically changed the power structure in the country. Chávez's Fifth Republic Movement is the largest party in Venezuela but it is a highly personalist party and few expect it to survive beyond Chávez's political career. The two traditional parties, AD and COPEI, have not recovered from the 1998 election and despite having a few seats in parliament, have been unsuccessful in mounting an organized democratic opposition against Chávez. For all practical matters, the only party that exists in Venezuela as of mid 2003 is Chávez's Fifth Republic with the rest of the political spectrum being highly fractionalized.

Also read article about Venezuela from Wikipedia

User Contributions:

zoe morgan sydney
Report this comment as inappropriate
Aug 10, 2017 @ 2:14 pm
A PERFECT MARRIAGE OF Woman & Man, Frugality & Liberality, Rich & Poor, Left & Right, FREEDOM & JUSTICE, Young & Old, Tradition & Modernity, Red, Black & White & Palestinian & Jew

Fulfilled Democracy Everywhere, Instantly & Practicably: a How To

Because it gives an equal chance of winning to all combinations of programs, not just parties, RB, voters ranking candidates in order of preference, is Simultaneously both most Just AND most Free. See Preferentiality on Yahoo Groups. Prefer-entiality. Preferential-ity.

Because of this great light in the eyes of the world & cause it always takes its majority from the middle (while giving an equal chance to all proposals, on a case by case basis, not just one at a time & to all Viewpoints to sway the mass in their direction) RB is more top-dead-center-counter-extremist than all the many recent retrenchments combined. The (simplest to explain & sufficient for all good purposes) “additive” form of RB is counting the first choices & then, if no-one has 50%, adding in the next choices, & so on, til someone finally does. RB, plus the “instant” part, running on the single issue of RB, promising a citizens advisory board, based on ”Organized Communications” (OC) randomly assigned discussion groups electing reps (by RB) to higher & higher random levels, til one small group remains, will give us instant practicable fulfilled Democracy everywhere.

The recent win for RB in Maine, the first state & right-leaning locale to adopt it, will be transformative. RB will allow truly anything from (win-win) Sharing The Work, the workweek attached to the unemployment rate (to end foot-dragging & too big to fail & maximize motivation & prosperity) all the way to replacing public education with having to prove you can read to vote (now that learning is universally valued & there’s broadband & 24/7 infinitely reiterative teaching machines).

RB will give the Parliaments a chance to do away with the last vestige of Biggest-Gang-On-The-Block-Ism by choosing their Prime Ministers by RB from among the Parliament & Presidential systems the means to end the last vestige of King-Of-The-Hill-Ism by choosing their Presidents by RB, give both a shining example to show the world, give the Muslims a means to choose their leaders from the great non-violent mass in the middle & give collective leaderships a means to avoid adventurism.

RB is the answer to all things. It will give us All Powers to Their Lowest Appropriate Level, Sharing the Work, A PERFECT MARRIAGE OF Woman & Man, Frugality & Liberality, Rich & Poor, Left & Right, FREEDOM with an eye for Justice & JUSTICE with an eye for Freedom, Young & Old, Tradition & Modernity, Red, Black & White & Palestinian & Jew, Justice with an Eye for Freedom & Freedom with an Eye for Justice, A Head for the Headless (tech) Beast, An Ecological Politics, Skillful Means & a Middle Way, but it will not change the essence of anyplace that adopts it, only give it more light-footedness & nuance.

Let all for RB try to get on the ballot, try to install RB where they are, run on the single issue, promise an OC-based Citizens Advisory Board, ask those who sign their petitions to petition for them as well, cast a blank (None of the Above) ballot, demand a response from office holders to RB &/or help this effort or others like it. A full page national ad would be sufficient to put RB to all the world, assuring that everyone knows that everyone knows about RB & making RB impossible to ignore. Please help make this message as big as possible.

zoe morgan roman christian sydney z
movement for ranked ballot
USA, Planet Earth

Comment about this article, ask questions, or add new information about this topic: