[Marxism] What the Venezuelan election results mean

michael a. lebowitz mlebowit at sfu.ca
Mon Dec 7 18:03:54 MST 2015

-------- Forwarded Message --------
Subject: 	What Could Venezuela’s Opposition Do With a Simple, 3/5, or 
2/3 Majority?
Date: 	Mon, 7 Dec 2015 13:18:05 -0800
From: 	michael a. lebowitz <mlebowit at sfu.ca>
To: 	ml >> me <mlebowit at sfu.ca>

The official count last night was 99 definite seats for the opposition 
with outstanding results for 22 seats as yet not irreversible but I did 
hear mention of 105 opposition seats more recently. Here below is what 
that means once the new National Assembly takes office next month (note 
that the existing assembly has the power to act in the interim)./michael


  What Could Venezuela’s Opposition Do With a Simple, 3/5, or 2/3 Majority?

*Geoff Ramsey*

While polls in recent weeks have led many analysts to expect Venezuela’s 
opposition to gain a majority of the 167 seats in the 2015-2020 National 
Assembly, the exact nature of this majority could vary widely. The 
Venezuelan Constitution requires different thresholds of votes in order 
for the National Assembly to pass certain measures. These thresholds can 
be grouped into three categories: those requiring a simple majority, 
those requiring a “qualified majority” of three-fifths of the Assembly, 
and those requiring an absolute two-thirds majority.

With a *simple majority *of more than 50 percent of the National 
Assembly (84 members), the opposition can:

  * Issue a vote of no confidence in the Vice President and cabinet
  * Investigate and question public officials
  * Have a deciding role in the national budget and debt debates
  * Approve an amnesty law
  * Select the members of the Supreme Court of Justice
  * Approve laws on health, justice and basic goods
  * Name ambassadors
  * Convene national referendums on matters of special importance and
    amendments to the Constitution (with National Assembly approval)
  * Attribute to states or municipalities certain issues that currently
    fall under national competence
  * Authorize the President to leave the country (for 5 days)
  * Elect the President of the National Assembly, and its two Vice
  * Indict congressmen

With a *qualified majority* of 3/5 of the National Assembly (101 
members), the opposition can:

  * Decide that a vote of no confidence in the Vice President or cabinet
    Ministers should lead to their dismissal, and subsequently dismiss them
  * Authorize presidential decrees allowing expanded executive authority
    (so-called “enabling laws” or “leyes habilitantes”
  * Appoint members of the National Electoral Council (CNE)
  * Remove members of the CNE, provided it is backed by a ruling by the
    Supreme Court

With an *absolute majority* of 2/3 the National Assembly (112 members), 
the opposition can:

  * Remove Supreme Court justices in cases of gross misconduct
  * Subject any bills under discussion in the National Assembly to
    approval by referendum
  * Convene a National Constituent Assembly, as well as a recall
    referendum for President Maduro
  * Submit international treaties, conventions or agreements to referendums
  * Pass and modify any draft organic law  (laws which determine the
    fundamental political principles of a government)

Michael A. Lebowitz
Professor Emeritus
Economics Department
Simon Fraser University
8888 University Drive
Burnaby, B.C., Canada V5A 1S6
Home:   Phone 604-689-9510
Cell: 604-789-4803

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