Venezuela is a federal republic. The president is the head of the government and the chief of state. The cabinet is appointed by the president.
Venezuela has a unicameral parliament known as the National Assembly. It is comprised of 165 members, of which 162 are directly elected and three seats are reserved for the country’s indigenous population. The members of parliament are elected for a term of five years.
The current president of Venezuela is Hugo Chavez. Hugo Chavez has in past survived a coup, protests, strikes, and a referendum since coming to power in 1998.
The main political parties’ active in Venezuela include:
· United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV),
· Communist Party of Venezuela (PCV)
· Democratic Action or Accion Democratica (AD)
· Christian Democrats or Comite Organizador Politico por Elecciones Independientes (COPEI)
· Homeland for All or Patria Para Todos (PPT)
· Movement to Socialism or Movimiento al Socialismo (MAS)
· Radical Cause or La Causa Radical
· First Justice or Primero Justicia
· The National Convergence or Convergencia
· For Social Democracy (Podemos)
· Un Nuevo Tiempo (UNT)
· Project Venezuela
(Source: state.gov, BBC, IPU)
Regulatory environment in Venezuela
Venzuela's economic freedom score is 37.6 making its economy the 175th freest in the 2011 Index of Economic Freedom. Venezuela ranks 28th out of 29 regional countries in the Central and South America. Venezuela’s overall score is much lower than the global and regional averages.
The Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) is a survey to measure the perceived level of corruption across countries worldwide. Venezuela was ranked 164th on this list in 2010, which indicates that the corruption levels in the public departments is fairly high.
Venezuela has slipped in the CPI rankings since 2009 where it was ranked 162nd with a score of 1.9 which indicates the perceived levels of corruption have increased. (Source:transparency.org)
Freedom of information
The media in Venezuela is restricted and the government controls the news channels. The defamation of the president is punishable by 6 to 30 months in prison. There have been cases of journalists from private organisations being harassed, threatened or detained. (Source: freedomhouse.org)
Venezuela is ranked 133rd in the world Press Freedom Index 2010 with a score of 47.33 which indicates that media in Venezuela is restricted. (Source: rsf.org)
· El Nacional
· Ultimas Noticias
· El Universal
· El Mundo
· El Carabobeno
The courts in Venezuela are part of the federal system. The Supreme Court of Justice is the highest court of appeal in Venezuela. Below the Supreme Court are Superior Courts in each of the 17 judicial districts. Other lower courts in the districts include Courts of Instruction, District Courts, Municipal Courts, and Courts of First Instance.