(Il)legitimate elections: A case study of a constitutional framework allowing electoral processes to undermine stable democracies

Elections can be a necessary legitimizing process in every democracy. Elections can also be the best evidence of a broken system, in which elections are a tool for a regime in power to strengthen their grip and maintain more control.
The control of Venezuela’s “Electoral Power” and its National Electoral Council has recently been in the hands of a ruling party which has progressively created a legal and functional framework allowing for advantageous and non-transparent electoral processes. This has allowed problematic practices to determine the way electoral campaigns develop in Venezuela. The system has organized and certified questionable electoral processes exacerbating the political crisis and further undermining the rule of law. The paper addresses the use of democratic institutions to subvert democracy. How can Venezuelans and the wider international community combat such democratic backsliding? What standards of election quality and reforms can guarantee transparent elections?