Venezuela recall referendum timeline

Cheryl Sanders
August 14, 2016

"We are going to see change not because the government allows it or the opposition promotes it but because the situation is not sustainable", he said in an interview on Wednesday.

Ms Lucena said the CNE was likely to authorise the MUD's main drive to collect the four million signatures - 20 per cent of the registered electorate - in late October.

"It is determined that the vote happens as quickly as possible", announced Tibisay Lucena, National Electoral Council President. The difference between having a recall election in 2016 and 2017 is that, if Maduro is ousted next year, his fellow socialist vice-president would take over as president rather than an opposition leader. Given both the solid track record of the CNE over the past 17 years and the detailed account of the rationale for the timeline offered by the CNE, it is doubtful that the body has succumbed to partisanship in the construction of the referendum timeline.

The timing is important.

"It knows very well that blocking the constitutional and democratic path places Venezuela in a highly unsafe situation". The election was rushed before it was technically and logistically prepared, resulting in catastrophe-some of the materials were printed with mismatching pictures and parties of candidates.

The Wall Street Journal's Anatoly Kurmanaev and Mayela Armas report that Maduro "has placed his trust in an obscure Marxist professor from Spain who holds so much sway the president calls him 'the Jesus Christ of economics'".

Capriles said regional heads of state must also block Maduro from holding the presidency of the Mercosur trade group and "relaunching" the regional bloc- Union of South American Nations, which once provided a platform for late Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez and his allies to stand together.

Opposition leaders in Venezuela have planned a march in Caracas on September 1 to demand electoral authorities permit the recall referendum this year.

Furthermore, even within this referendum, the CNE has already had to protect the rights of the voters who elected President Maduro.

Based on previous experiences, the process to hold a recall referendum is estimated to take several months from beginning to end, although there is no specific time frame due to the requirements and verifications needed prior to a vote.

My opinion: There are new and urgent reasons why the Obama administration and Latin American democracies should step up their diplomatic pressure on Maduro to allow a recall vote before January 10, with credible worldwide observers, and accept the laws passed by Venezuela's congress. "Our duty is just like the constitutionality of all Venezuelans."[9] Right-wing opposition has certainly voiced its concern in the past that the institution is biased. The constitution itself mandates the referendum procedures, and it appears that these are being strictly followed by the CNE.

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