Venezuela: Opposition unlikely to get referendum this year

CNE President Tibisay Lucena.

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro warned his country's right-wing opposition leaders on August 9 not to stir up violent unrest as the threat of a recall vote against him waned, the Morning Star said on August 11.

National Electoral Council (CNE) president Tibisay Lucena indicated that a recall referendum was unlikely before next January, the halfway point in Maduro's six-year term. If held by January 10, a successful recall vote would trigger a new presidential election. However, after that date Vice-President Aristobulo Isturiz, a popular former teachers' union leader, would automatically take over.

Maduro warned the right-wing Democratic Unity Roundtable (MUD) coalition, which won control of Venezuela's National Assembly last December amid an economic crisis, not to repeat violent protests that have previously caused death and destruction. Anti-government protests in 2014 left 43 people dead.

Lucena said the CNE was likely to authorise the MUD's main drive to collect the four million signatures — 20% of the registered electorate — in late October. The CNE would then have 29 days to check the petitions — and weed out the numerous fraudulent signatures, as happened in the first two rounds of campaigning. It would then have 90 days to call a referendum.

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