Punto Fijo Pact

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File:Punto Fijo Pact.jpg
Signers of Punto Fijo Pact, from left to Right: Rafael Caldera, Jóvito Villalba and Rómulo Betancourt

Punto Fijo Pact was a formal arrangement arrived at between representatives of Venezuela's three main political parties in 1958: Acción Democrática, COPEI and Unión Republicana Democrática, for the acceptance of the 1958 presidential elections, and the preservation of the rising democratic regime.


The term originates from Punto Fijo, Rafael Caldera's house at the time in Caracas, where representatives of the Democratic Republican Union (URD), Social Christian (COPEI) and Democratic Action (Acción Democrática, AD) parties signed a pact that, according to its adherents, was aimed at preserving Venezuelan democracy by respecting elections, by having the winners of said elections consider including members of the signing parties and others to positions of power in bids for national unity governments, and by having a basic shared program of government.[1]

According to others, the pact bound the parties to limit Venezuela’s political system to an exclusive competition between two parties.[2] Some claim that the accord allowed the rising Venezuelan democracy to survive in the 60's the leftist guerrilla movement as well as destabilisation attempts by the Dominican Republic's right wing dictator, Rafael Leónidas Trujillo[citation needed].

Fall out of favor

Eventually this pact became a political distribution of power between the two main political parties that signed it originating a bipartite system. Citizens, intellectuals, journalists and media started to demand a reformation of all the political system to transform Venezuelan democracy to fit a growing democratic society.

Former Venezuelan president Hugo Chávez promised in his 1998 presidential campaign that he would break the old puntofijismo system and open up political power to independent and third parties.[3]

Similar pacts

Puntofijismo bore a resemblance to the Turno pacifico of the restored Spanish monarchy between 1876 and 1923, in which Conservative and Liberal parties alternated in power. It also has some similarities with the National Front (Colombia), which like the Puntofijismo was enacted in 1958 and ended a military regime. However, the National Front was also instituted to end a civil war between the two parties, and was a much more extensive pact which temporarily had the parties take turns with the presidency.[citation needed]

See also


  1. Crisp, Brian F. (2000). Democratic Institutional Design: The Powers and Incentives of Venezuelan Politicians and Interest Groups. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press. p. 26. ISBN 9780804735704.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. Kozloff, Nikolas (2007). Hugo Chávez: Oil, Politics, and the Challenge to the U.S. Palgrave Macmillan. p. 61. ISBN 9781403984098.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. Ellner, Steve; Hellinger, Daniel (2004). Venezuelan Politics in the Chávez Era: Class, Polarization, and Conflict. Lynne Rienner Publishers. p. 66. ISBN 9781588262974.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

External links