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Venezuela: opponents ask for more time to collect signatures for the recall referendum against Maduro

The promoters of the recall referendum against the president of Venezuela, Nicholas Maduro, requested this Monday to extend the deadline to collect the 4.2 million signatures required to activate the mechanism, after the electoral authority imposed conditions that made it unfeasible.

“Today we have formally introduced a document that allows us to challenge or request the review of the entire electoral schedule, we are against the established electoral schedule”Nicmer Evans, a member of the Venezuelan Movement for Recall (Mover), told reporters, Nicmer Evans, upon his departure from the National Electoral Council (CNE).

The CNE announced last Friday that the collection of signatures to activate the recall -20% of the electoral register of each state- will be carried out next Wednesday within 12 hours in 1,200 centers. Analysts, opponents and even members of the entity itself pointed out that it is unfeasible to carry out the process under these conditions.

”Not even the rector Tania D’Amelio [cercana al chavismo] He was able to explain to us what the procedure for receiving people is, they do not know if there are four fingerprints, they do not know if it is a signature, they do not know if they have to take the time to be able to register the data of the identity card”, Evans said after meeting with part of the board.

“They themselves do not know today, at this time, how people are received in order to receive the request”, he continued.

Mover, which still does not have the express support of the largest opposition parties, expects a response to its request “as soon as possible” and before Wednesday. The CNE, however, has announced on networks that, so far, it continues with the proposed schedule.

A woman holds the message in Spanish "I want to recall Maduro and the CNE is blocking me" behind Nicmer Evans, who represents a referendum movement to recall President Nicolás Maduro, speaking to the press in front of the National Electoral Council (CNE) in Caracas Venezuela.  (Photo: AP/Matias Delacroix)

The ruling United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV) said that it will request the final list of the people who ask to revoke Mature.

“If a person has the right to request that a person be revoked, the person who is the subject of that request has the right to know who they are”said the powerful Chavista leader Diosdado Cabello, vice president of the PSUV, at a press conference.

The Constitution provides that any official elected by popular vote can be removed from office through a recall, once half of his term has expired.

The only successful recall was faced by the late Hugo Chávez in 2004 and he overcame it with a landslide victory. That year, Chavismo released a list that, according to complaints, was used by the government to purge public companies.

The Venezuelan opposition tried in 2016 to activate a recall referendum against Mature, but the process was blocked by the CNE and the Supreme Court of Justice (TSJ) after an alleged “fraud” in the collection of the signatures.


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