Puntofijismo was a formal arrangement arrived at between representatives of Venezuela's three main political parties in 1958: Acción Democrática, COPEI and Unión Republicana Democrática.


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 some politicians, bound them to limit Venezuela’s political system to an exclusive competition between two parties. Some claim that the accord allowed the rising Venezuelan democracy to survive in the 60's the invasions and guerrillas funded by governments from extreme right wing (Rafael Leónidas Trujillo) to extreme left wing (Fidel Castro).

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.

Current 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.

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.

External links

* [http://www.analitica.com/bitblioteca/venezuela/punto_fijo.asp Pacto de Punto Fijo] , in Spanish.

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