Political transition and institutionalization of party politics in Venezuela

Document Type



Master of Arts (MA)


Latin American and Caribbean Studies

First Advisor's Name

Eduardo A. Gamarra

First Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Chair

Second Advisor's Name

William I. Walker III

Third Advisor's Name

A. Douglas Kincaid

Date of Defense



The purpose of this thesis is to evaluate the processes of consolidation and decomposition of the Venezuelan party system and their relation to democratic stability. Both processes are analyzed through a theoretical framework based on four conditions for institutionalization and three conditions for decomposition of a party system.

Preliminary findings reveal that the Venezuelan party system became institutionalized as of 1969 but began to unravel during the 1980s. This particular order, whose legitimacy rested on the distribution of rents, solidified an arrangement that collapsed when confronted with a deteriorating economic environment combined with growing popular disenchantment stemming from its institutional inability to represent and respond to shifting demands. The thesis also concludes that current political developments do not respond to a process of institutionalization of a new party system but to the development of an inchoate system.



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