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REDACTED Page 81 of 190 The following sections will demonstrate that the centralization of the Presidency since 1999 has not changed under President Maduro. After winning the elections by a narrow margin in April 2013, he has, on the contrary, expanded and used the framework established under Chávez against the civilian population in order to maintain power by all means. 2.The current structure of the State in Venezuela a)The Presidency under Nicolás Maduro, a continuation of the state structure established under Chávez Described as a party member showing “unflagging loyalty”, Nicolás Maduro became “a leading spokesman for the socialist leader”334 since he joined the Chávez administration in 1999. He first became politically active as a teenager when he joined the Socialist League where he helped found the Movement of the Fifth Republic (Movimiento Quinta República) under which Chávez ran for president in 1998. After Hugo Chávez became President in 1998, Maduro remained close to him. Maduro was elected to the Venezuelan Chamber of Deputies in 1998, and in 1999 he was elected as one of those designated to draft a new constitution. He then went on to serve as Deputy and subsequently as President of the National Assembly from 2005 to 2006.335 In August 2006, Maduro was appointed Minister of Foreign Affairs until October 2012, when Chávez promoted him to the position of Vice President of Venezuela.336 It is under Maduro’s mandate as Minister of Foreign Affairs and right hand of Chávez in 2012. Available from: econoinvest-brokerage-directors-on-bail. On 6 March 2014, the court dismissed and closed the case against Herman Sifontes, Juan Carlos Carvallo, Ernesto Rangel and Miguel Osío. EL NACIONAL. (2014) Directivos de casa de bolsa fueron sobredeídos de delitos cambiarios. El Nacional. 6 March 2014. Available from: libertad_0_367763459.html 334 The USA Today said: “Chávez had named Maduro, his longtime foreign minister, as his choice for vice president three days after winning re-election. The 50-year-old Maduro, a burly former bus driver, has shown unflagging loyalty and become a leading spokesman for the socialist leader.” See: USA TODAY. (2012) Venezuela’s Chávez says cancer back, plans surgery. USA Today. [Onlince] 9 December. Available from: Chavez-cancer/1756293/ [Accessed 12 September, 2015] 335 LÓPEZ, V. and WATTS, J. (2013) Who is Nicolás Maduro? Profile of Venezuelan’s new president. The Guardian. [Online] 15 April. Available from: [Accessed 28 August, 2015] 336 JAMES, I. (2012) Venezuela's Chávez says cancer back, plans surgery. USA Today. [Online] 9 December. Available from: Chavez-cancer/1756293/ [Accessed 28 August, 2015]

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