Overview of Venezuelan Elections
The upcoming Venezuelan elections are a perfect example of why it can be difficult to determine regime type. Recently, one of my fellow graduate students referred to Venezuela as an extremely authoritarian state. According to the Geddes, Wright, and Frantz (2014) dataset, the country has been a personalist dictatorship since 2006. Typically these are some of the most authoritarian states in the world. For example, North Korea, Iraq, Libya, and Syria are or were personalist dictatorships. Yet, on December 6, Venezuelan citizens will be voting on all Congressional seats. While the elections are not free and fair — many opposition leaders have been jailed, banned from holding office, and excluded from media coverage — the very fact that the opposition might win the majority of seats, suggests a weak authoritarian classification. Just something to think about.
If you are interested in the upcoming election, the following links provide comprehensive coverage of the potential opportunities and challenges for an opposition win.
If you prefer videos to reading: