|President||Mercedes Malavé González|
|General secretary||Juan Carlos Alvarado|
|Founded||January 13, 1946|
|Headquarters||Avenida La Gloria, El Bosque, Caracas|
|Youth wing||Juventud Demócrata Cristiana|
|Political position||Center to center-right|
|National affiliation||Agreement for Change|
|International affiliation||Centrist Democrat International|
|Regional affiliation||Christian Democrat Organization of America|
|Colors||Dark green (customary) |
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COPEI, also referred to as the Social Christian Party (Spanish: Partido Socialcristiano) or Green Party (Spanish: Partido Verde), is a Christian democratic party in Venezuela. The acronym stands for Comité de Organización Política Electoral Independiente ("Independent Political Electoral Organization Committee"), but this provisional full name has fallen out of use. The party was influential during the twentieth century as a signatory of the Puntofijo Pact and influenced many politicians throughout Latin America at its peak.
Copei was founded on 13 January 1946 by Rafael Caldera. Copei, Democratic Action (AD) and Democratic Republican Union (URD) signed the Puntofijo Pact in October 1958. Signatories of the pact stated that it was created to preserve democracy and to share governorship between parties. Others believed that the pact allowed signing parties to limit Venezuela's political system to themselves. URD would later leave the pact in 1962 following Cuba's removal from the Organization of American States and governing of Venezuela was exclusive to Copei and AD. The Puntofijo system ultimately created a network of patronage for both parties.
Caldera was elected president in December 1968 and for the first time in Venezuela's history, opposition parties transferred power peacefully, with Copei becoming the first party to obtain power without violence as well. The only other Copei member to become president of Venezuela was Luis Herrera Campins, between 1979 and 1983.
Governing by Copei and AD would continue through the rest of the twentieth century. Dissatisfaction with the established governmental system increased, culminating in the 1992 Venezuelan coup d'état attempts led by Hugo Chávez. For the 1993 Venezuelan general election, Copei passed over choosing Caldera as their candidate. The Puntofijo Pact ultimately ended when Caldera won the election with his newly created National Convergence party. Soon after being elected, Caldera freed Chávez, with the latter becoming Caldera's successor following the 1998 Venezuelan presidential election.
With the election of Chávez, Venezuela entered into a period of a dominant-party system led by his United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV). In the 2000 legislative elections the party won five of 165 seats in the National Assembly, with the party receiving 5.10% of valid votes. In the 2005 legislative elections Copei staged an electoral boycott and did not win any seats in the National Assembly. In the 2010 parliamentary election, Copei was part of the broad oppositional Coalition for Democratic Unity and won eight of the 165 seats.
Prior to the 2015 Venezuelan parliamentary election, the pro-government Supreme Tribunal of Justice designated new leaders of Copei, leading some to state that the party was infiltrated by the PSUV. By 2017, Caracas Chronicles said the party was "dying an undignified death" as infighting among leaders could not agree on a path for the party.
|№||Portrait||President (Birth–Death)||State||Term of office||Term|
|39||Rafael Caldera (1916–2009)||Yaracuy||11 March 1969
– 12 March 1974
|41||Luis Herrera Campins (1925–2007)||Portuguesa||12 March 1979
– 2 February 1984
Voter turnout rose significantly in the 1998 elections, reversing a two-decade trend toward lower participation.
another example is the PSUV in Venezuela, which served in government as a single party for 14 years following a period of multi-party politics. After the death of the charismatic party leader, Hugo Chavez, the PSUV had a new leader, yet managed to form a single-party government again in 2013.
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