Blog of the International Journal of Constitutional Law

Valium, Floods, and Presidential Decree Power in Venezuela

You have to admire Hugo Chavez’s directness, if nothing else. Today he exercised his constitutional prerogative to request decree powers from the National Assembly, which is expected to oblige. The opposition, of course, was none too pleased at the thought of more Chavezian decrees. Chavez’s response: “they should take a valium, or something like that.”

Chavez argues that decisive executive action is needed in the wake of disastrous floods. That sounds reasonable on its face. However, in the past, he’s used these “temporary” (he has them for a year) decree powers to outflank the opposition. After September’s legislative election, in which the opposition gained ground, some more outflanking seems like it’s in the cards. I’ve heard that Oxycontin works wonders for something like this.


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