Tuesday, December 04, 2007

How to get rid of Chavez legally

Article 72 of the rescued 1999 constitution:

All charges and elective offices are revocable.

After half of the term for which the official was elected, a number not less than twenty percent of registered voters of the constituency may request the convening of a referendum to revoke his mandate.

When equal or greater number of voters and voters who elected official have voted for the revocation, provided that the referendum has attended a number of electors and voters equal to or higher than twenty-five per cent of voters and registered voters, the mandate is considered revoked and immediately the absence is covered in accordance with the Constitution and the law.

The revocation of the mandate for the collegiate bodies shall be conducted in accordance with prescribed by law.

During the term for which he was elected the official may not be more than one application for the revocation of his mandate.
Chavez has a few trump cards in hand but they are weak trump cards.

The National Assembly, who last Sunday lost any legality or legitimacy it had left, happens to have been elected in December 2005, with the flimsiest of voter participation. I do not think that any of the representatives currently seating at the Capitolio has received more than 25% of possible votes. Thus in June 2008 they reach their half term and they can be revoked without much trouble. All of them at once. The only guarantee that they will have to return to the National Assembly would be for them to resign BEFORE the recall election and run for the replacement election, thus all but making sure that the we could have legislative elections sometime by the end of next year.

When you look at the electoral result of last Sunday the opposition with a minimum of alliances and strategy should be able to get at the very least 1/3 of parliament back. In fact, considering the negative emotional impact over chavismo that its leader is not anymore a sure footed winner, added to the more than likely economical troubles coming next year, it is not unreasonable to think that the non-chavista forces could gain a majority in the renewed assembly. I use non-chavista because that way I can include an eventual leftist but social democratic group with people from PODEMOS and Baduel like characters. This distinction makes it more difficult for chavismo to get an outright majority.

As if this was not enough, new governors, state assemblies and mayors must be elected by November 2008. From the results (more on that in a future post) it seems that the opposition should pick up at least Caracas, Miranda, Tachira and Merida, while retaining Nueva Esparta and Zulia and with a serious chance to add Anzoategui, Carabobo and set up a dissident chavista in Lara and Aragua or Sucre. Even Yaracuy and Falcon are not out of reach, to ice the cake.

Then it will be three long years for Chavez. Odds that he would resign become very high. We would get rid of Chavez in a legal way, while retaining him long enough in office so that we can pin on him the coming devaluation, at least 25% inflation, extensive food shortages and an increase in gas prices and utilities.

As long as the opposition is patient, determined, steady and organized, we could see Chavez leaving office by the end of 2009.

Or he call for a constitutional assembly, but that is another story.

-The end-

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