The big news out of Venezuela’s Dec. 6 legislative elections is the victory of the opposition United Democratic Roundtable (MUD) over the incumbent United Socialist Party (PSUV) of President Nicolás Maduro. Shockingly, the MUD achieved a two-thirds supermajority in the National Assembly, which, according to the constitution, could allow it to remove Supreme Court judges (Art.265), appoint key officials such as an independent attorney general and a national comptroller (Art.279), and approve amendments to the constitution itself, subject to ratification by referendum (Art.348).
That supermajority is razor-thin. The MUD claims 112 seats out of 167 — exactly two-thirds. Anything less than perfect unity and the list of powers available to the MUD diminishes considerably. But how did the MUD achieve this landslide win in an electoral environment widely regarded as stacked in favor of the PSUV? A variety of factors were at play, and the MUD caught some remarkable breaks.
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