[Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro] possesses, however, few of his predecessor’s resources, lacking not just oil revenue but Chávez’s surplus of charisma, humour and political skill. Maduro, unable to end the crisis, has increasingly sided with the privileged classes against the masses; his security forces are regularly dispatched into barrios to repress militants under the guise of fighting crime. Having lost its majority in Congress, the government, fearing it can’t win at the polls the way Chávez did, cancelled gubernatorial elections that had been set for December last year (though they now appear to be on again). Maduro has convened an assembly to write a new constitution, supposedly with the objective of institutionalising the power of social movements, though it is unlikely to lessen the country’s polarisation.
I received the following sms purporting to come from a panicked Mbeki appointee. Can it be true?
Am informed that the NWC has resolved as follows: 1. Thabo must go. 2. Baleka to take over. 3. Don’t prefer clauses 89 & 102 cos of possible early election. 4. Committee set up 2 look @ other possibilities including constitutional changes. 5. TM 2 be informed as soon as he’s back. 6. Certain ministers & premiers 2 be approached 2 stay 2 avoid exodus. It is time we move out of our comfort zone & face the reality of us all leaving sooer (sic) than we think!
I am a bit skeptical that this is what the National Working Committee (NWC) of the ANC really decided. This is because if it true, it suggests the NWC is desperately in need of a constitutional law adviser. (Hey, I won’t charge you guys that much – just ask!)
First, if President Mbeki resigns, the Speaker, Baleka Mbete, cannot take over as Acting President because the Deputy President and then a Minister selected by the cabinet is in line before the Speaker for the job of Acting President if only the President resigns. Second, if the President is removed in terms of section 89 or 102, we do not necessarily have to have an election – as long as a new President is elected by the National Assembly within 30 days of the resignation.
Regardless of the personal drama and tragedy of these events, it is a boon for anyone teaching Constitutional Law. Finally students will be able to see that these provisions in the Constitution relating to the President’s election and dismissal actually mean something!BACK TO TOP