Opposition-led Venezuela congress plans to bring President Nicolas Maduro to trial

October 23, 2016 9:30 pm

’s President speaks during the 23rd World Energy Congress in Istanbul, Turkey, on October 10, 2016. (Photo by AFP)

Venezuela’s National Assembly has vowed to prosecute Nicolas Maduro for what it described as “violating democracy” after electoral officials suspended a recall referendum campaign that opposition parties had mounted against the South American country’s leader.
“It is a political and legal trial against President Nicolas Maduro to see what responsibility he has in the constitutional rupture that has broken democracy, human rights, and the future of the country,” opposition lawmaker Julio Borges said during a special congressional session on Sunday.
The National Electoral Council announced in a statement late on October 20 that it was putting a stop to the opposition-driven plebiscite against 53-year-old Maduro after four state courts called the signature-gathering process fraudulent.
The measure put an end to the opposition movement’s bid to end 17 years of socialist rule in Venezuela.  
The government’s adversaries argue that the suspension of their effort to stage a plebiscite against Maduro shows that Venezuela has abandoned democracy.
Last week, the electoral council stated that a recall vote against Maduro could not take place this year, and that “the event could be held in the middle of the first quarter of 2017.”

A group of opposition women take part in a protest in Caracas, Venezuela, on October 13, 2016. (Photo by AFP)

The opposition now needs to collect signatures from 20 percent of all registered voters during Wednesday’s national petition drive in a bid to set off the 2017 referendum.
It has urged Venezuelans to take to the streets on the same day in a protest rally dubbed “The takeover of Venezuela” to keep campaigning for the plebiscite.
The opposition coalition blames Maduro’s “dictatorial tactics” for the country’s drastic economic meltdown, hyperinflation and acute shortages of food and medicine. 
The socialist president, in return, rejects the accusations, saying the opposition, sponsored by the United States, has launched an economic war against the country in an attempt to trigger a coup d’état.
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