Venezuelans are set to enter an even more volatile period as two significant votes are planned for July 16 and July 30. The first is called by the opposition-controlled legislature (National Assembly) as a public consultation to reject the government’s planned elections at the end of July to choose a National Constituent Assembly. These votes come after more than three months  of daily protests against the government, and severe conflict between branches of government where the president, supreme court, and electoral council refuse to recognize the authority of the legislature and the break-away Prosecuting Attorney’s office.

Jennifer McCoy, PhD, was a mediator in Venezuela in 2002 after a failed coup against then-president Hugo Chávez. An expert on Venezuelan politics, she has published four books on the subject, the latest of which is International Mediation in Venezuela (with Francisco Diez, USIP press, 2011).

She is currently a Distinguished University Professor at Georgia State University, and former director of the Carter Center’s Americas Program where she monitored Venezuelan elections and mediated conflicts in that country since 1998.

“These votes in the next two weeks are politically-driven to shore up the beleaguered government on the one hand, and to demonstrate with numbers the extent of the opposition to that government on the other hand.  The July 16 vote will be held without the support or blessing of the National Electoral Council and could result in clashes with government supporters as they attend a simulation for the July 30 vote," Dr. McCoy said.

"The call for a National Constituent Assembly is an attempt by the government to avoid regularly scheduled elections that it fears it will lose, and instead create a new body that will have supreme “original” authority to rewrite the constitution and dissolve other branches of government. It is thus a dangerous and uncertain time in Venezuela,” the professor continued.

To contact Dr. McCoy, email her directly at [email protected] or Tweet to her at @jlynnmccoy. Her direct mobile/cell phone contact information is available to logged-in registrants of the Newswise system, visible in the contact information box on this screen.

For further assistance in reaching the professor, contact Jeremy Craig at Georgia State University’s central public relations office at [email protected] or (+1) 404-413-1374.

Her biography, CV and list of her publications is available at To read some of her recent publications, visit

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