Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan won a referendum in April to change the parliamentary democracy in the country to an executive presidency. The win bestowed a plethora of powers on him including the passing of laws by decree and appointing public officials. Along with these and other changes, the referendum in Turkey seems to have potentially influenced President Nicolás Maduro of Venezuela as well.
Maduro came up with the idea of convoking the constituent assembly, discussed in the previous article, nearly two weeks after the ‘Yes’ vote for Turkey’s referendum on April 16.
The Turkish President was heavily criticized both home and abroad with opposition parties claiming foul play during the voting due to unmarked ballots. However, Erdoğan survived and now sits at the center of all authority in the country.
Not a popular president
Media outlets have reported that Maduro’s approval ratings currently sit at around 30% and nearly four out of five citizens want him removed from the post.
It is believed that the country’s Supreme Court his concentrated with Maduro sympathizers and his unsuccessful attempt to reduce the power of the opposition-controlled National Assembly in March by using the authority of the Supreme Court was his last major push towards centralizing authority.
But following the referendum in Turkey in April, he has reprised convening a constituent assembly, the way his predecessor Hugo Chávez had done in 1999. It has been argued that the success of Erdoğan in centralizing power in the Turkish presidency despite outrage at home and abroad had a role in influencing Maduro.
How does this impact Venezuela?
Some businesses in Venezuela are still hopeful of a turnaround. Chevron is expected to stay put in the country due to its large reserves of crude oil. FMCG giants Procter & Gamble and Colgate-Palmolive intend to work with the government to offer inexpensive consumables to keep a foothold in the market.
Even General Motors, which has recently shut operations in Venezuela, is hopeful of resuming assembly at its factory “with a new, viable business model,” as reported by The Wall Street Journal.
In many ways, it comes down to situation of who blinks first. If the government does so, it can be a turning point in the country’s history. However, if the companies do, it threatens to close the chapter on this once beaming economy of Latin America.