In the case of Chavismo, it is difficult to predict what will happen the movement as a political movement, Perez said.
"But what I can say is that the memory of Chavez will last. It will be very difficult to erase it from the poor sector of Venezuela who found answers in the image and words of Chavez," he said.
Millions of Venezuelans found hope in Chavez, and now the question is who will appropriate his image and how will they use it, Perez said. Conceivably, even the opposition could take aspects of Chavez's legacy and make it their own, he said.
Already during last year's electoral campaign, the opposition vowed not to undo the social missions that Chavez initiated, but only to modify them.
The director of the polling firm Datanalisis, Luis Vicente Leon, predicted something similar in a series of Twitter posts before Chavez died.
"To count out Chavismo without Chavez is to ignore that there is Peronism without Peron and Sandinismo without Sandino," he tweeted. "It will suffer a great loss without Chavez, but it has a legacy of power and symbolism that it can exploit."
Peronism is a movement named after former Argentine President Juan Peron, a legacy that has been claimed over the years by parties both on the political right and left.
Outlook good for Chavismo in short term
Despite suffering from cancer, Chavez resoundingly won re-election in October. His popularity, combined with the outpouring of tributes in the wake of his death, make a Chavista victory likely in the new elections that must be called.
Maduro was named by Chavez as his preferred successor and could easily win the election, but he will have to put the movement's unity as his priority, said Steve Ellner, a professor at Venezuela's Universidad de Oriente who has written several books about Chavez's Venezuela.
There are divisions within Chavismo that have come to light as Chavez's health faded. Some stand behind Maduro, who is close with the Cuban regime, while others side with Diosdado Cabello, the National Assembly president who is more of a nationalist. Because Chavez was never sworn in for his latest terms, there is even a debate over which of the two, constitutionally, should be the interim president.
In the short term, Maduro will have to avoid internal dissent that threatens the movement, Ellner said. That may mean adopting populist positions that the nationalists like.
"I don't see a turn to the moderate policies that some favor," Ellner said.
One of the characteristics of Chavismo is the fervor of its adherents. Chavez was a master of cultivating that fervor, and the next Chavista leader will have to do the same, Ellner said.
"In any process of far-reaching changing, it is essential," he said.
Maintaining that level of fervor keeps followers from becoming disillusioned, he said. One of Chavez's strategies was to surprise Venezuelans with new policies that invigorated the rank-and-file, a formula that future leaders may have to follow, he said.
In a speech at his swearing in as interim leader, Maduro promised to follow Chavez's path.
"We still have him in our hearts," he said. "I have him here, here, as if he was the name in my soul, because I am his son."
The future of Chavismo
The grip of Chavismo on Venezuela is not guaranteed.