What can a 2/3 Majority in the National Assembly do?

Having a two-thirds majority in the National Assembly is the ultimate legislative prize in Venezuela. Or is it?

What does the Venezuelan Constitution say about a majority of two thirds in the National Assembly, which the opposition is poised to win?

Aside from the typical things you can do with a simple majority (approve laws, call people to testify before the AN, etc.) there are superpowers only a two-thirds majority has. (Spoiler alerts, a good many of these require us to jump through some hoops.)

I’m no lawyer, so here’s my layman read of what they are:

  • Initiate a referendum on special matters, one whose results are mandatory, including one to revoke the President’s mandate (Art. 73).
  • Decide that a legislator has to be separated from their post due to some grave circumstances (Art. 187).
  • Create or eliminate congressional committees – for example, a special committee to investigate drug smuggling (just a thought … Art. 193).
  • Approve new organic laws (macro laws regulating large, important issues) or modify existing ones (things such as the labor laws, or the law regulating elections – another though! … Art. 203). Could this be the way we free political prisoners?
  • Remove Supreme Tribunal justices, after the Citizens’ Power (the Prosecutor General, the Comptroller, and the Defender of the People) have decided something really nasty has gone down (there are major hoops to be jumped there … Art. 265)
  • Select the members of the Citizens’ Power when their time is up (more hoops … Art. 279)
  • Select the members of the Elections Board, as long as they are selected according to process (hoops!), and remove them as long as the Supreme Tribunal decides they should be removed (tangled up in hoops … Art. 296)
  • Reform the Constitution (this one has no hoops! … Art. 343)
  • Initiate the process through which a Constitutional Assembly is called (no hoops, but unlikely … Art. 348)

What does this mean?

The process through which we can give Venezuela clean institutions (courts, prosecutors , etc.) has to go through a Constitutional reform. Without that, they have us jumping through hoops, blocking us at every turn, thanks to the control of one power over another. We will face death by a thousand cuts.

What do you think?