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On January 9, Venezuela's National Assembly declared that President Nicolas Maduro had "abandoned his post”. With catchy headlines spreading quickly around the world, the recent vote resulted to be very limited, and the Venezuelan opposition did not manage to make a single step to push the Chavez’s followers away from power.

 

On January 9, Venezuela's National Assembly declared that President Nicolas Maduro had "abandoned his post”. With catchy headlines spreading quickly around the world, the recent vote resulted to be very limited, and the Venezuelan opposition did not manage to make a single step to push the Chavez’s followers away from power.

It seems that voting in the Assembly was of symbolic character only. Firstly, the parliament has no power to dismiss the president and, secondly, the very statement that Maduro has "abandoned his post" or "not in office" does not look convincing due to the fact that the president is alive and well and has no intention to resign. For the opposition, it was the very last attempt to win the battle for early elections in this election cycle (as one might remember, they failed to call a referendum to revoke Maduro from power).

After January 10, such maneuvers are doomed to be ostentatious – according to the Constitution, even if they are able to legally remove Nicolas Maduro, he will be replaced by the Vice-President. By the way, Maduro appointed a new Vice-President at the beginning of 2017: now this post belongs to Tarek El Aissami, known as a hardliner among the Chavez’s followers.

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Nicolas Maduro and Tarek El Aissami

However, this symbolic parliament’s decision exacerbated the ongoing political crisis in Venezuela. Not only did it provoke hysterical reaction of the ruling elite but also divided opposition rows, as some considered the initiative to be inadequate and inefficient.

To summarize, the decision to hold the vote seems unreasonable and hasty one, the opposition’s desperate attempt to show its significance, which eventually produced exactly the opposite effect: yet again it became clear that the institutional capacity of opposition is below zero. The "Democratic Unity Table" image was indeed affected by the vote but had no consequences for Nicolas Maduro whose approval rating is already at its lowest.

 

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