Friday, May 26, 2017

Electoral Fun in Venezuela

Nicolás Maduro had announced a constitutional assembly, and now Anabella Abadi and Francisco Toro have a discussion of the electoral rules. The clear problem is simple:

how do you take 10-15% support in the opinion polls and turn that into 50%+1 of the seats in an elected Assembly?

Doing so requires creativity and by necessity also requires complexity. You have to advantage rural areas and specific groups of people, which means malapportionment. You may remember that malapportionment has been a key feature of the Venezuelan electoral system for years, including under Hugo Chávez, meaning that opposition votes have long been worth less. The main difference is that Chávez had a solid foundation of support to begin with.

This is a desperate and ad hoc effort to slap some facade of legitimacy on a crumbling government. And given the intensity of political conflict now, who knows whether the unwieldy body will ever actually meet.


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