[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.
If the ANC decides not to have an early election, a President must be chosen within 30 days from among the members of the National Assembly. As Jacob Zuma is not a member of the National Assembly and cannot become one before the election because he is not at the top of one of their election lists, the question is who will take over as caretaker President until the next election.
Some newspaper reports have suggested the Speaker Baleka Mbete will take over. But she will first have to resign as Speaker before she could be elected President for the period until the next election by June 2009. Some suggests that Kgalema Motlanthe is not trusted by the Zuma camp but he should be the obvious choice for caretaker President until the 2009 election.
I am surprised the ANC has not said anything about this at the news conference. They have been very vague, merely muttering about “Parliamentary process”. If they want stability they need to tell us as soon as possible what the next move is. Or have they not yet decided on a next move? If they have not, they are even more irresponsible than I thought.
UPDATE: Two thoughts just came to me. Maybe the Presidency is referring to the requirement that the cabinet must designate an acting President from among its members and will only resign once the cabinet has designated one of its members to act as President? Also, maybe the President wants to resign in a speech to the National Assembly. Now that will be an interesting speech to watch!
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