jueves, 3 de marzo de 2016

How Venezuela Would Remove Its President: 4 scenarios from Straford

With each passing day, it is becoming increasingly clear that
Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro's term could come to an
abrupt end. The risk of social upheaval because of the country's
soaring inflation will be a given, no matter how he is replaced.

Scenario 1: Maduro Remains in Power Until 2019 Elections

This is increasingly unlikely, given that numerous members of the
PSUV and the opposition coalition have begun substantive discussions on
the president's removal. Even if Maduro manages to overcome the attempts
to remove him and PSUV factions against him are swayed to continue
supporting him, the prospect of several more years of rampant inflation,
food shortages and government inaction on economic reforms could spur
major protests.

Scenario 2: Maduro Is Recalled with a Referendum or Amendment

There are currently two recall initiatives threatening Maduro's
continued rule. One is a proposed constitutional amendment that would
shorten the president's term to four years and set new elections in
December 2016. The other is a proposed recall referendum. Both could
potentially be presented to the Venezuelan public for vote. The National
Assembly has begun discussing the amendment; no progress has been made
on the referendum.
The opposition coalition has yet to publicly announce final plans for
recalling Maduro, likely because it is still the subject of internal
discussion and, potentially, of negotiations between the opposition and
the government. Because both a constitutional and recall referendum are
very real threats to the government and would show the extent of public
dissatisfaction with Maduro, the more likely they look to pass, the more
likely opposition and PSUV leaders are to work with one another.
However, conducting a recall referendum would likely be more
problematic for the opposition than a constitutional amendment. A
referendum could be challenged by the Supreme Court or the National
Electoral Council, both of which are still under PSUV control.

Scenario 3: Maduro Is Forced to Resign

Forcing the president to resign could lead to the formation of a
junta or other transitional government. It would almost certainly have
to include opposition civilians, or else be given little legitimacy by
foreign governments. It would also open a direct path to the presidency
for the opposition. According to the Venezuelan constitution, new
elections must be held within 30 days of the president's resignation.
The vice president would rule the country until elections could be held.
Default on the country's foreign debt or a major unpopular
domestic political move, such as a potential expropriation of
Polar Enterprises, could trigger such a forced resignation.
This scenario, too, would likely
entail substantial negotiations between the government and opposition,
if only because a possible transfer of political power to the
opposition, especially in the presidency and the legislature, would
raise uncertainty for the PSUV leaders, some of who face criminal
charges abroad.
The timing of the president's resignation will be crucial as well. If
the president is removed before January 2017, the opposition can make a
strong legal case for the government to hold new elections. But if the
president is removed after that date, whoever occupies the vice
presidency will be president until 2019. Members of the political elite
might wish to delay a transition into next year, but the risk of social
upheaval as a result of the economic crisis could motivate them to seek a
quicker transition.

Scenario 4: Military Coup Replaces Maduro

Finally, a segment of the armed forces could attempt a coup against
the president, but this option is less likely. It would occur if Maduro
resists calls for his resignation or if a military faction defies its
commanders and conducts a coup regardless. Still, Padrino Lopez is
thought to be against the option of removing Maduro by force and would
rather discuss the president's negotiated removal instead.

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