Friday, 24 November, 2017

Venezuela's Opposition Referendum Overwhelmingly Rejects Maduro's Quest to Change Constitution

Trump threatens to impose sanctions against Venezuela Spotlight: Venezuela plagued by political crisis, US threatens with "economic actions"
Kenny Thornton | 17 July, 2017, 20:29

Amid ongoing turmoil, an overwhelming majority of those who voted in an unofficial referendum organized by Venezuela's opposition has rejected the motion of leftist President Nicolas Maduro to change the constitution and supplant the opposition-leadning Parliament with a "Constituent Assembly".

Over seven million Venezuelans participated in Sunday's referendum on the country's political future, reports Efe news.

Though polls show the opposition has majority support and his foes repeatedly call for a free and fair election as their top demand, Maduro insists they are USA pawns intent on sabotaging the economy and bringing him down through violence.

"It clearly states that Maduro is as deeply unpopular as he has always been thought to be, and it shows, as the polls have suggested, that Venezuelans are overwhelmingly against the idea of establishing a constitutional assembly", Philip reports.

Some 98.3 per cent of the participants (6,384,607) backed the renewal of public powers, the holding of "free and transparent" elections and a transitional government of national unity.

Maduro, 54, dismissed Sunday's poll as unconstitutional and is campaigning instead for a July 30 vote to create a legislative superbody that would have the power to rewrite the constitution and dissolve state institutions.

The President's call to amend the constitution has led to widespread protests condemning the move. Venezuelan authorities have refused to greenlight the vote that has been presented as an act of civil disobedience and supporters of Maduro are boycotting it. Protests against Maduro since April 1 have brought thousands to the streets demanding elections, but has also left 95 people dead, according to an official toll. Do they want the armed forces to back congress? "The mandate the people have given us is clear".

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In Venezuela, the polling station closed at 7 PM, but the voting didn't end in a peaceful manner.

Some have said that the "popular consultation" is illegitimate, as it lacked the backing of the state - which, instead, held its own "practice vote" for the constituent assembly that is scheduled for 30 July.

Maduro described the event as the "biggest and most impactful dry run of all dry runs that have taken place in the last 18 years" in a tweet on Sunday.

Of course, President Maduro says the vote doesn't matter and that he will continue to hold elections later this month to choose people to rewrite the constitution. Collectives related to the regime of Nicolas Maduro shot against the voters.

The chief prosecutor's office confirmed Escot - who was a nurse - had been killed and four others wounded in the incident.

"That was the fear they had of a recall referendum and for that reason prevented it", he said about the vote that was requested by the opposition and obstructed by judicial measures a year ago.

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