Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Foreign Digest: Venezuela, Argentina, Portugal, Spain

Venezuelan Congress
            As predicted, Venezuelan dictator Nicolas Maduro’s regime attempted to limit the power of the democratically-elected opposition to Congress.  The opposition won a two-thirds majority in December, which was enough to exercise certain checks and balances than could a majority less than that threshold.  The socialist dictatorship barred enough opposition candidates from taking office to allow the opposition to have the super-majority.  Nevertheless, as also predicted, the opposition is attempting to press on with its program of restoring liberty and addressing Venezuela’s hyperinflation, depression, corruption and violence.

Argentina Begins to Repay Its Debts
            While Venezuela edges toward default of its debts, the new center-right Government of Argentina has concluded a deal to repay tens of thousands of Italian bondholders after Argentina’s leftist government had defaulted on its debts nearly 15 years ago.  The more than one billion-dollar deal is the first of what are expected to be a series of deals to repay Argentina’s creditors who held out after the Argentine default.

Portuguese Presidential Election
            The center-right candidate was resoundingly elected in the Portuguese presidential election, winning a majority of the popular vote, far ahead of the candidate of the leftist Government and every other candidate.  The Portuguese electorate thus indicated its rebuke to the minority leftist anti-austerity Ggovernment that took power, despite the plurality vote in favor of the ruling center-right party.  The center-right party had been unable to form a coalition government.  Although the President of the Republic is not the head of government, he does exercise certain limited constitutional roles, in contrast to the usual inaccurate media descriptions of the role of presidents or similar heads of state of parliamentary republics as “ceremonial.”  It is hoped that the incoming Portuguese President can help restrain the leftist Government from harming Portugal through the threat of the presidential power to dissolve parliament when the government acts against the interests of the state.

Spanish Parliamentary Elections 
           In Spain, like in Portugal, the ruling conservative party won a plurality in the Spanish elections for Parliament, but has been unable to form a coalition government with majority support.  No other party is able to form an unprecedented coalition government in the usually-two-party state, either.  I shall post updates of any significant developments, such as the formation of a minority government or the call for fresh elections.  

No comments: