Not long ago we published a formal paper titled Gödel’s Loophole in which we identify and distinguish between Gödelian and non-Gödelian design defects in the U.S. Constitution, loopholes that could potentially lead to the creation of a constitutional dictatorship within the existing rules of the Constitution. Today, with the rise of dangerous demagogues like Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders, our paper has become more relevant than ever. But presidential elections in the U.S. are still a year away … In the meantime, Venezuela may soon serve as a field study or live laboratory for scholars of constitutional defects, for how a president might find a way of “lawfully” assuming dictatorial powers (i.e. within the existing set of constitutional rules under Venezuela’s current Bolivarian Constitution) even in the face of popular opposition. In brief, the opposition party in Venezuela recently won a major legislative victory on 6 Dec. 2015, winning 107 out of 167 seats in Venezuela’s legislature, the National Assembly. There is some speculation, however, that President Nicolás Maduro might request the outgoing National Assembly, which is still dominated by his political party and which does not leave office until January 2016, to pass an enabling law (Ley Habilitante) that would allow the president to rule by decree for the rest of his term (2019). We will be following this brewing constitutional conflict closely and will keep you posted …
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