Since the installation of the National Constituent Assembly (ANC) in July by President Nicolás Maduro, Venezuela’s political and economic crisis has continued to deepen. Maduro and his PSUV party have used the ANC as a vehicle through which to preserve their power, at the expense of the Venezuelan people and the opposition-controlled National Assembly. A lack of consensus among opposition leaders on how to deal with the ANC has fractured the opposition coalition (MUD), which seeks to field a challenger to the regime in the presidential elections currently slated for December 2018. While all eyes are on who that challenger will be, it is equally unclear who will represent the PSUV.

Key Points

  • Despite its lack of popular legitimacy, the ANC’s ability to issue unilateral decrees makes it a force to be reckoned with. However, the ANC is inherently unstable given that it is wholly reliant on Maduro for authority.
  • Venezuela’s ongoing sovereign debt crisis could help restore power to the currently disenfranchised National Assembly. Because any new debt issuance has to be approved by the National Assembly, it could leverage this bargaining chip in order to extract concessions from Maduro.
  • The MUD is in danger of disbanding if it cannot find common ground on how to oppose the PSUV. The coalition’s dysfunction could scare off potential voters and could give rise to more radical anti-government factions.