Thursday, January 07, 2016

Executive-Legislative Relations in Venezuela

I'm quoted in this Bloomberg story on the hubbub of the first day of the new opposition-led legislature in Venezuela. My comments are based in large part on my thinking in this December 2015 post about overwrought rhetoric. This is what I wrote then:

There is a lot of flap trapping going on, which is pretty inexcusable for people in the highest political positions of a country. It does mean, though, that their current statements must be measured by their past flapping. I have a hard time seeing an autogolpe happening in Venezuela. The election made clear that the domestic response would be violent, and the military has little appetite for such a scenario. I doubt a shadow congress will matter, even if it actually ever exists, but transferring power to it would be an autogolpe.

I still think that's true (not surprising, since it was only two weeks ago!). In the Bloomberg article I simply noted that this happens in presidential systems. The difference in Venezuela is that several prominent politicians, including the president and the former speaker, say lots of crazy things they don't actually follow up on.

The dynamic is very similar in the United States, where executive-legislative polarization is very high. My own member of Congress just called President Obama a "monarch." Take that out a bit more to the fringes, then have Obama say something crazy back, and you're Venezuela.


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