COPEI, also referred to as the Social Christian Party (Spanish: Partido Socialcristiano) or Green Party (Spanish: Partido Verde), is a Christian democratic[5] party in Venezuela. The acronym stands for Comité de Organización Política Electoral Independiente (English: Independent Political Electoral Organization Committee), but this provisional full name has fallen out of use.[6] The party was influential during the twentieth century as a signatory of the Puntofijo Pact and influenced many politicians throughout Latin America at its peak.[7]

LeaderJuan Carlos Alvarado
Roberto Enríquez
(de jure)[1][2]
Secretary-GeneralJuan Carlos Alvarado
Robert García
(de jure)[1][2]
FounderRafael Caldera
Founded13 January 1946
HeadquartersAvenida La Gloria, El Bosque, Caracas
Youth wingJuventud Demócrata Cristiana
IdeologySocial conservatism
Christian democracy
Economic liberalism
Political positionCentre[3] to centre-right[4]
National affiliationDemocratic Alliance
Regional affiliationChristian Democrat Organization of America
International affiliationCentrist Democrat International
Colors  Dark green (customary)
  Lime green
National Assembly
1 / 277
States' Governors
0 / 23
15 / 337

History edit

20th century edit

COPEI was founded on 13 January 1946 by Rafael Caldera.[6] COPEI, Democratic Action (AD) and Democratic Republican Union (URD) signed the Puntofijo Pact in October 1958, establishing themselves as the dominant political parties in the country.[8] Signatories and supporters of the Pact stated that it was created to preserve democracy and to share governorship between parties.[9] Critics believed that the Pact allowed signing parties to limit control over Venezuela's government to themselves.[10] URD would later leave the pact in 1962 following Cuba's removal from the Organization of American States,[11] leaving governing of Venezuela to COPEI and AD.[12] The Puntofijo system ultimately created a network of patronage for both parties.[13]

Caldera was elected president in December 1968 and for the first time in Venezuela's history, opposition parties transferred power peacefully. COPEI was also the first Venezuelan political party to assume power peacefully on its first attempt.[14] The only other COPEI member to become president of Venezuela was Luis Herrera Campins, from 1979 to 1983.[15] However, Herrera Campins fell from grace due to a drop in oil revenue, leading to AD candidate Jaime Lusinchi winning the presidency in 1984.

Governing by COPEI and AD would continue through the rest of the century. Dissatisfaction with the established governmental system of patronage increased, culminating in the 1992 Venezuelan coup d'état attempts led by Hugo Chávez. For the 1993 Venezuelan general election, COPEI passed over choosing Caldera as their candidate.[7] Caldera would afterwards win the election through his newly founded National Convergence party.[citation needed] Soon after being elected, Caldera freed Chávez,[16][17] who became Caldera's successor following the 1998 Venezuelan presidential election.[18][non-primary source needed]

21st century edit

With the election of Chávez, Venezuela entered into a period of a dominant-party system led by his United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV).[19] In the 2000 legislative elections COPEI won a meager five of 165 seats in the National Assembly, with the party receiving 5.10% of valid votes.[20] In the 2005 legislative elections COPEI staged an electoral boycott and did not win any seats in the National Assembly.[21] In the 2010 parliamentary election, COPEI was part of the broad oppositional Coalition for Democratic Unity and won eight of the 165 seats.[22]

Prior to the 2015 Venezuelan parliamentary election, the pro-government Supreme Tribunal of Justice designated new leaders of COPEI, leading some to state that the party was infiltrated by the PSUV.[23] By 2017, Caracas Chronicles said the party was "dying an undignified death" as infighting among leaders could not agree on a path for the party.[7]

Presidents of Venezuela edit


Portrait President (Birth–Death) State Term of office Term


39   Rafael Caldera (1916–2009) Yaracuy 11 March 1969

– 12 March 1974

28 (1968)
41   Luis Herrera Campins (1925–2007) Portuguesa 12 March 1979

– 2 February 1984

30 (1978)

See also edit

References edit

  1. ^ a b "En 5 puntos: Plataforma Unitaria anuncia su participación en las regionales con la tarjeta de la MUD". Runrun (in Spanish). 2021-08-31. Retrieved 2021-08-31.
  2. ^ a b "Plataforma Unitaria anuncia que participará en las elecciones del 21-N". El Universal (in Spanish). 2021-08-31. Retrieved 2021-08-31.
  3. ^ Salojärvi, Virpi (2016). The Media in the Core of Political Conflict: Venezuela During the Last Years of Hugo Chávez's Presidency (PDF). p. 30. ISBN 978-951-51-1092-3. ISSN 2343-2748.
  4. ^ "Q&A: Venezuela's referendum". BBC News. 30 November 2007.
  5. ^ Mainwaring, Scott; Scully, Timothy, eds. (2003). Christian Democracy in Latin America: Electoral Competition and Regime Conflicts. Stanford, California: Stanford University Press. p. 81. ISBN 0-8047-4598-6.
  6. ^ a b Crisp, Brian F.; Levine, Daniel H.; Molina, Jose E. (2003), "The Rise and Decline of COPEI in Venezuela", Christian Democracy in Latin America: Electoral Competition and Regime Conflicts, Stanford University Press, p. 275, ISBN 9780804745987
  7. ^ a b c Linares, Rodrigo (2017-03-27). "Requiem for COPEI". Caracas Chronicles. Retrieved 2019-09-13.
  8. ^ "Document #22: "Pact of Punto Fijo," Acción Democrática, COPEI and Unión Republicana Democrática (1958) | Modern Latin America". Brown University. Retrieved 2019-09-13.
  9. ^ Corrales, Javier (2001-01-01). "Strong Societies, Weak Parties: Regime Change in Cuba and Venezuela in the 1950s and Today". Latin American Politics and Society. 43 (2): 81–113. doi:10.2307/3176972. JSTOR 3176972.
  10. ^ Kozloff, Nikolas (2007). Hugo Chávez: Oil, Politics, and the Challenge to the U.S. Palgrave Macmillan. pp. 61. ISBN 9781403984098.
  11. ^ "Jóvito Villalba, URD y Margarita". El Sol de Margarita. 2009-02-12. Archived from the original on 2009-02-12. Retrieved 2019-09-13.
  12. ^ Karl, Terry Lynn (1987-01-01). "Petroleum and Political Pacts: The Transition to Democracy in Venezuela". Latin American Research Review. 22 (1): 63–94. doi:10.1017/S0023879100016435. JSTOR 2503543. S2CID 252930082.
  13. ^ Buxton, Julia (2005-07-01). "Venezuela's Contemporary Political Crisis in Historical Context". Bulletin of Latin American Research. 24 (3): 328–347. doi:10.1111/j.0261-3050.2005.00138.x. ISSN 1470-9856.
  14. ^ Guillermo Aveledo Coll: Christians in Politics - YouTube
  15. ^ Nohlen, D (2005) Elections in the Americas: A data handbook, Volume II, p555 ISBN 978-0-19-928358-3
  16. ^ Marcano and Tyszka 2007. pp. 107–08.
  17. ^ Jones 2007. pp. 182–86.
  18. ^ "Venezuela's 1998: Presidential, Legislative, and Gubernatorial Elections: Election Observation Report" (PDF). Election Observation Report. International Republican Institute. 12 February 1999. p. 12. Archived from the original (PDF) on 4 September 2015. Retrieved 17 February 2015. Voter turnout rose significantly in the 1998 elections, reversing a two-decade trend toward lower participation.
  19. ^ Musil, Pelin Ayan (2015-01-02). "Emergence of a Dominant Party System After Multipartyism: Theoretical Implications from the Case of the AKP in Turkey". South European Society and Politics. 20 (1). Taylor & Francis: 71–92. doi:10.1080/13608746.2014.968981. ISSN 1360-8746. S2CID 219697348. another example is the PSUV in Venezuela, which served in government as a single party for 14 years following a period of multi-party politics. After the death of the charismatic party leader, Hugo Chavez, the PSUV had a new leader, yet managed to form a single-party government again in 2013.
  20. ^ "Elecciones 30 de Julio de 2000 VOTOS DIPUTADOS LISTAS A LA ASAMBLEA NACIONAL" (PDF). National Electoral Council (Venezuela). Archived (PDF) from the original on 2017-08-05.
  21. ^ Forero, Juan (30 November 2005). "3 Anti-Chávez Parties Pull Out of Election". The New York Times.
  22. ^ "Divulgación Elecciones Parlamentarias - 26 de Septiembre de 2010". National Electoral Council (Venezuela). 26 September 2010. Retrieved 2019-09-13.
  23. ^ "Enrique Mendoza: Candidatos de Copei deben tener el aval de las direcciones regionales". Efecto Cocuyo. 2015-07-31. Retrieved 2019-09-13.
  24. ^ For the purposes of numbering, a presidency is defined as an uninterrupted period of time in office served by one person. For example, Carlos Soublette was both the 8th and 10th President because the two periods where he was president were not consecutive. A period during which a vice-president temporarily becomes acting president under the Constitution is not a presidency, because the president remains in office during such a period.
  25. ^ For the purposes of numbering, a term is a period between two presidential elections. Some terms might be longer than originally expected due to coup d'états or the installation of military dictatorships, thus extending the time between two elections. Venezuela's unique history has allowed several presidents to serve during a single term, as well as some presidents, such as Jose Maria Vargas, serving twice during a single term.

External links edit