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Yearbook 2016

Venezuela. According to countryaah, the already tense political situation in Venezuela deteriorated further in the second half of the year. The political opposition MUD (Democratic Consensus Assembly), led by Henrique Capriles, concentrated its efforts on deposing President Nicolás Maduro with constitutional means. Although MUD dominated the Congress and could in principle vote for his departure, at the same time the government controlled the Supreme Court which would have the final say in such a process, which became clear by the Congress's decision to dismiss the Minister of Food at the beginning of the year.

2016 Venezuela

Instead, the opposition focused on getting a referendum on the president's position. For that, naming lists of 20% of the electoral corps were required, ie 3.7 million signatures, and in early September a protest march was organized in the capital Caracas with one million participants in support of the demands. In August, however, the national electoral authority declared that it would not be possible to meet the opposition's demand for a referendum in due time.

In October, the political crisis accelerated significantly. The electoral authority first announced that the regional elections scheduled for December would be postponed to next year. Only a few days later, the opposition's name collections were rejected with reference to alleged cheating. MUD in turn accused the electoral authority, in whose leadership four out of five members are also linked to the government, for political manipulation under the bureaucratic cover. On October 23, a turbulent debate was held in the opposition-dominated Congress, which decided to work to replace the members of the electoral authority and also urged the military not to obey the government's orders, whereupon members of the ruling party, under chaotic forms, suspended the debate. Supreme military chief Vladimir Padrino López responded by explaining the military's relentless loyalty to the government.

The contradictions were so strong that several foreign mediators were allowed to step in and facilitate the dialogue between the government and the opposition. Among them were Spain's former prime minister José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero, two former presidents of the Dominican Republic and Panama and representatives of the Vatican.

At the same time, Venezuela's economy was in deep recession, partly due to a record low oil price. OPEC's decision in early December to reduce oil production to raise oil prices seemed to be able to ease the economic situation in Venezuela somewhat. But the main cause of the country's economic crisis was considered to be the institutional chaos. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) predicted negative growth for the year of as much as 10% and an inflation rate of as much as 700%. The IMF also noted that its forecast for Venezuela for 2017 (-4.5%) should therefore be revised.

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