Venezuela: Degenerative democracy

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Following a pacted transition to democracy in 1958, Venezuela was viewed as a bedrock of democratic stability in Latin America. High rates of political participation and extensive partisan alignment underlined enduring support for the two dominant parties. Sustained economic growth was enjoyed in the 1960s. But a boom in Venezuela's oil economy in 1974 ended both economic and political stability, leading to corruption and clientelism of massive proportions Once economic performance began to decline, flaws in the democratic system were revealed. Support for the two main parties had been predicated on their capacity to enact economic redistribution, effectively purchasing support for a ‘limited’ form of democracy. The emergence of alternative competing parties was inhibited. Notwithstanding the evidence of decay in the political system, powerful vested interests in the maintenance of the political status quo have obstructed measures to improve representation and accountability, culminating in a slide towards democratic deconsolidation.
Original languageUndefined
Pages (from-to)246-270
Number of pages225
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Mar 1999

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