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Revista de ciencia política (Santiago)

On-line version ISSN 0718-090X


LALANDER, RICKARD. Venezuela 2010-2011: Polarization and Radicalization of the socialist project. Rev. cienc. polít. (Santiago) [online]. 2012, vol.32, n.1, pp.293-313. ISSN 0718-090X.

Theyears of2010 and 2011 were characterized by political and social polarization and similarly by a radicalization of the socialist government of Hugo Chávez Frías, with the establishment of new laws to expand the model of radical participatory democracy. The period however also witnessed the return of the opposition to the National Assembly in 2010. In 2011, the already existing crisis within the chavismo was hit by the health problems of the President, which added to uncertainty regarding the leadership ofa movement that hitherto has been characterized by a high degree of personalism and power concentration in Chávez. In the social field, the government has maintained its progressive (and/or paternalist) policies ofdifferent State Social Missions (Misiones), since 2011 mainly to confront housing shortages. Already in 2011, the beginning of a pre-campaign before the presidential elections of 2012 can be observed. This study provides a political summary of Venezuela in 2010 and 2011, and there will be special analytical attention paid to the parliamentary elections of 2010, and -particularly- the tensions between two different democratic schemes: a liberal representative model and a more radical and participatory type of democracy. As for the second type there will be special attention to the Community Councils and their implications for Venezuelan democracy.

Keywords : Democracy; elections; Hugo Chávez; polarization; 21st century Socialism; Venezuela.

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