World Bulletin / News Desk
Thousands of Venezuelans on Monday participated in a process to validate signatures on a petition to activate a recall referendum against President Nicolas Maduro.
The opposition needs to validate 200,000 signatures of the 1.8 million collected in May, to begin the referendum process.
Approximately 1.3 million citizens have until Friday to confirm their names on the petition. The National Electoral Council (CNE) will then have until July 26 to review the signatures.
According to the president of the CNE, Tibisay Lucena, of the 1.8 million signatures that the opposition collected, 650,000 have been deemed invalid.
The opposition contends that the CNE is delaying the process to hold off the referendum vote until next year. Opposition lawmakers want a vote in 2016.
According to the Constitution, if Maduro is removed from his mandate in 2017, Vice President Aristobulo Isturiz would assume leadership of the country until the next scheduled elections. A referendum vote this year would force snap elections.
“The validation process started in the whole country at eight o´clock, but we have reports that from six in the morning there were people waiting in lines. This is a stage in which we must be very firm,” said former presidential candidate Henrique Capriles Radonski.
If the validation process is successful, the opposition would be required to collect 3.9 million signatures, or 20 percent of registered voters, in no more than three days. If successful, the CNE would have 15 days to review the names.
Maduro was elected in April 2013 and is struggling to hold onto power until his term ends in 2019 as his administration grapples with severe economic, social and political crises.Güncelleme Tarihi: 21 Haziran 2016, 11:52