Opponents in Venezuela reject impossible requirement for a recall referendum

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Newspaper La Jornada
Sunday, January 23, 2022, p. 18

Caracas. The promoters of a referendum to revoke the mandate of the president of Venezuela, Nicolás Maduro, yesterday announced their refusal to collect the more than 4.2 million signatures required under the conditions set by the electoral authorities, as they maintain that this requirement makes it impossible to fulfill the requirement for consultation.

It is really inappropriate to waste time in queues (…). We cannot act recklessly and irresponsibly and throw people into lines that are not going to produce the result we want: call the referendum, opposition leader César Pérez Vivas, a member of the Venezuelan Movement for Recall (Move ).

The National Electoral Council (CNE) announced the day before yesterday that the promoters of the referendum will have only 12 hours next Wednesday, in 1,200 centers, to collect the necessary rubrics.

One of the directors of the CNE, Roberto Picón, who refused to vote for these conditions, pointed out that it is not feasible to obtain the number of signatures, corresponding to 20 percent of the electoral registry, which has 20.9 million voters. Five voters would have to be processed per minute, for 12 hours, in all the machines in the country, with no margin of error, he said.

They decided to try to abort the recall referendum effort, complained Nicmer Evans, another member of Mover, a platform made up of six small political organizations.

Evans announced that all instances will be exhausted in favor of the recall: We are going to resort to all national and international instances.

In the 2018 presidential elections, in which Maduro was re-elected for the 2019-2025 period amid allegations of fraud by the opposition, the CNE installed more than 14,000 voting centers, with more than 34,000 tables.

When you reduce to 1,200 voting booth modules, you are discriminating against citizens, said Pérez Vivas.

The government’s political opponents tried to call a recall in 2016 against Maduro’s first term (2013-2019), but it was blocked by the CNE and the Supreme Court.

Maduro’s re-election two years later was unknown by the United States, the European Union and several Latin American countries, which recognized opposition leader Juan Guaidó as interim president of Venezuela without him being able to displace the socialist president from power. The next presidential elections are scheduled for 2024.