Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro

  • Both Venezuela and Israel could experience a change in leadership prior to 2021.
  • Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro (-260) and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (-230) are favored to retain their respective offices, but not by an overwhelming margin.
  • Maduro could be pressured to step down by the crushing weight of international economic sanctions.
  • Netanyahu could be relieved of his office after being indicted on three criminal charges in a corruption investigation.
  • The chaos of COVID-19 could also lead to a change in leadership for either country.

CARACAS, Venezuela – Newly released political betting odds show potential for the countries of Israel and Venezuela to experience a change in leadership by 2021. Both Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu could be forced to step down before the year’s end.

Maduro was elected to a six-year term in 2018, and Netanyahu has served several terms as Prime Minister but was most recently elected in March 2020. Neither country has another election scheduled prior to the end of 2020, but political betting odds suggest that changes in leadership are possible.

The current international political betting odds for Israel and Venezuela, per Bovada, look like this:

Will Benjamin Netanyahu Be Prime Minister Of Israel On Dec. 31, 2020?

  • Yes -230
  • No +160

Will Nicolas Maduro Be President Of Venezuela On Dec. 31, 2020?

  • Yes -260
  • No +175

After adjusting for house take, these odds imply a 33.9% probability that Israel will experience a change in its executive office in 2020 and a 31.5% chance that Venezuela will do the same. There is a 54.7% implied probability of at least one of these countries changing leaders.

Why Would Venezuela Change Leadership?

The most obvious reason for a change would be a COVID-19-related health emergency. The virus nearly claimed one world leader earlier in April, when British Prime Minister Boris Johnson was forced into intensive care for several days.

Both President Maduro and Prime Minister Netanyahu are also facing external pressure to step down in addition to the general volatility caused by COVID-19.

In 2015, then-U.S. President Barack Obama ordered massive economic sanctions against Venezuela, and the sanctions have continued through the Trump administration. These sanctions have severely impacted Venezuela’s oil industry and left the country in an untenable financial position.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has expressed an interest in lifting those sanctions if Maduro, a member of the Venezuelan Socialist Party, is removed from power.

If Maduro is ousted, Venezuela would be run by a transitional government, elected by the National Assembly, for six to 12 months. Free elections would be held within a year of the transition.

Maduro’s regime already fended off a coup attempt by opposition leader Juan Guaido in 2019, so a change in leadership is unlikely even if it is possible.

Why Does Netanyahu Have These Odds?

In Israel, Netanyahu could be forced to step down and cede his office to Benny Gantz, his primary opponent in the 2020 election. In January, Netanyahu was indicted on charges of bribery, fraud, and breach of trust.

Netanyahu was set to go on trial in mid-March, but the global Coronavirus emergency forced the courts to postpone his trial. Israeli law does not prohibit indicted persons from holding office, but if convicted, Netanyahu would have no choice but to step down.

The High Court of Israel could theoretically block Netanyahu from serving office, but has so far favored a more conservative approach of allowing the trial process to rather than blocking him solely based on his indictment.

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