Venezuela Referendum Schedule Makes Early Presidential Election Unlikely

Caracas, – The timetable for a recall referendum on whether Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro should stay in power means it is unlikely there will be an early presidential election, and it will probably keep the opposition from power.

The schedule for the petition to collect the signatures needed to force a recall is crucial for the opposition in Venezuela. If President Nicolas Maduro loses a referendum held after January 10, he would just transfer power to his chosen deputy who would serve until his term ends in early 2019. Before that date, there would be a presidential election.

National Elections Council President Tibisay Lucena said that opponents of Maduro’s socialist administration will probably be authorized in late October to try to collect petition signatures from the 20% of the country’s voters, or 4 million people, needed to force a recall.

Lucena said the gathering of signatures “would take place around the end of October” on condition that “all the regulatory requirements are fulfilled”.

Election officials would then take 90 days to confirm the signatures and schedule a referendum on whether Maduro should remain in power.

On that timetable, a vote to recall Maduro would probably not happen until January or February.

Maduro has consistently said the recall will not happen this year and election officials have been accused of taking a very long time to get the referendum process underway.

Source: Qatar News Agency