Venezuela's opposition accuses electoral body of trying to delay referendum

0 Comment(s)Print E-mail Xinhua, September 23, 2016
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Venezuela's right-wing opposition coalition, the Democratic Unity Roundtable (MUD), on Thursday accused the National Electoral Council (CNE) of trying to delay a recall referendum against President Nicolas Maduro.

MUD Secretary General Jesus Torrealba said that the conditions set by the CNE, a point of controversy between the MUD and the government, violated the Constitution.

The CNE announced that the phase for collecting 3,893,128 signatures, 20 percent of the Venezuelan electorate, is scheduled to take place on Oct. 26, 27 and 28.

Once those signatures are validated, the CNE is obligated to take no more than 72 hours to set a date for the referendum, which must take place within the next 90 days.

The CNE anticipates an eventual referendum will be held during the first quarter of 2017.

But Torrealba said the MUD "will increase its efforts" to ensure the recall referendum will be held during 2016.

The MUD is eager to hold the recall vote as soon as possible. If Maduro is voted out before Jan. 10, 2017, then new elections can be held to choose a successor, and the opposition is banking on a win after years of economic turmoil.

If the vote takes place after Jan. 10 and if Maduro is voted out, his vice president will succeed him and serve out his current term of office, which ends on Jan. 10, 2019.

Meanwhile, Diosdado Cabello, a deputy in the Venezuelan National Assembly for the ruling United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV), said that the CNE is doing everything by the book whereas the MUD is not.

Cabello was referring to the PSUV's allegation that the MUD committed an "electoral fraud" in the first stage of the referendum process. The allegation has caught the attention of the electoral body and the Supreme Court of Justice.

The CNE detected, after an extensive validation process, that at least 605,000 signatures from the lists handed over by the opposition coalition supporting the referendum were irregular. Around 10,995 people who already deceased were included in the lists and therefore could not be classed as valid signatories. Endi

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