Diario Las Americas
Octobre 22, 2007
The politician who wins a presidential election and, as a result of that victory, takes over as chief of State, has the right to say that his mandate is legitimate. However, that legitimacy does not give him in any way the right to work against the democratic and constitutional norms of the republic. Those norms were the ones that made his victory possible. As soon as a democratically elected ruler acts against the constitutional and democratic norms, he loses his legitimacy and his government cannot be considered as the result of the will of the majority of the people. Even if it is considered that the will of the majority backs him, this does not mean that he has the right to violate the constitution and the democratic principles that should rule in a republic. For example, minorities, even the small ones, have space in a democratic republic and their existence must be respected even if their program is not the one that prevails.
What is happening in Venezuela, for example, should not lead anyone to believe that because Lt. Col. Hugo Chávez Frías won the 1998 presidential election this means that he is a democratically legitimate president, when in his post he violates the constitution and its principles. Moreover, the maneuvers that result in arbitrary changes to the Constitution do not justify what is done as if it were legitimate. In other words, a Constitution arbitrarily changed in line with the interests of the rulers and with the use of all the resources of the States, does not have the support of political morality. There is no democratic legitimacy.
This reality must be a conviction of those who analyze the characteristics of the regime that there is today in Venezuela, with a constitutional reform in 1999 which was the result of political maneuvers made by the ruler using all the resources of the Venezuelan State at his disposal. Therefore, his government should not be considered as the normal result of his original and in a way far-off democratic election. A democratic electoral victory only entitles the winner to rule in accordance with the Constitution that brought him to power. There can be constitutional reforms, but they must be made in light of authentic democratic norms without abuses from the government.