Sunday, November 30, 2008

Chavez and no term limits

So not long after I criticize a media article for jumping to conclusions about Chávez wanting the chance at indefinite terms, he says he is now pushing for the reform. He announced it very quickly after local elections that produced mixed results for both sides, but by no means an electoral shift that promises a better outcome than the last time. This is especially true because now the only issue would be term limits, as opposed to including other issues that make it more palatable.

I am trying to think of any scenario that does not include desperation on his part, but none come to mind.

6 comments:

Gabriel 11:15 PM  

I admit I was a bit surprised about your original criticism. Does anyone doubt that Chavez will push to get rid of term limits?

Greg Weeks 6:17 AM  

No, which I also wrote in the post--it seemed likely he would do so at some point. My point was that the article made no case for why he would do so quickly (in a number of ways it made the opposite point). Regardless, this is going to be very interesting to watch.

Justin Delacour 12:55 PM  

now the only issue would be term limits, as opposed to including other issues that make it more palatable.

I think you've forgotten the controversies surrounding the constitutional referendum. To defeat the referendum, the opposition focused more on issues of property rights than indefinite reelection. Oil Wars, who certainly doesn't hesitate to criticize Chavez, made the important point that the "Si" campaign almost certainly would have won if the only issue in the referendum had been indefinite reelection.

For a political scientist, the relevant question should not be whether indefinite reelection is palatable to you but rather whether it is palatable to the Venezuelan electorate.

Julia_1984 7:29 PM  

The Si campaign didn't only lose because of the nature of the campaign, I think the exposure of the student movement and that awful milk shotage helped the No side. Either way I remember a lot of Chavistas during those days hesitating a bit about that idea of indefinite reelection and the no campaign did focused a lot on that. So I'm not sure if I share Justin Delacour observation, or maybe my arguments are not strong enough and I'm just way too hopeful about my country' electorate. You should make your own conclussions

Justin Delacour 2:09 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Justin Delacour 2:16 AM  

So I'm not sure if I share Justin Delacour observation, or maybe my arguments are not strong enough and I'm just way too hopeful about my country' electorate.

But your hopes, as well as Greg's normative baggage, are not a substitute for analysis. Normally, political scientists don't explicitly predicate their predictions upon their normative preferences. Greg operates on the highly dubious assumption that, if he deems something unpalatable, the Venezuelan electorate is likely to deem it unpalatable as well. Greg ought to come to terms with the fact that he will see such an issue through a different lens than most Venezuelans.

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