Opposition holds symbolic vote in Venezuela

July 16, 2017 4:00 pm

People take part in an anti-government protest in Caracas, , on July 15, 2017, on the eve of a symbolic “plebiscite” called by the opposition. (Photo by AP)

Venezuela’s opposition has run a symbolic, general vote aimed at assessing overall public sentiments toward constitutional reforms proposed by the government.
The opposition-organized “plebiscite” was held in 2,000 polling stations across Venezuela and in 80 countries for Venezuelans abroad on Sunday, some two weeks ahead of an official vote to elect a body to rewrite the constitution.
The supporters of President Nicolas Maduro had boycotted the unofficial vote.
Maduro, however, had earlier advised all citizens to take part in it.
“I call on all Venezuelans to participate peacefully in political events tomorrow, with respect for others’ ideas, with no incidents. Peace is what I ask,” he said on Saturday.
Maduro then pointed out that the opposition was supported by “imperialist” foreign powers, with an intention to topple his government.

Members of the Venezuelan National Guard are caught up in a blast during protests in Caracas, July 10, 2017. (Photo by AFP)

Meanwhile, the opposition has boycotted the government-planned vote to elect a Constituent Assembly on July 30. The opposition accuses Maduro of seeking to accumulate powers by rewriting the constitution and other steps.
Rising tensions among Venezuela’s opposing forces have given rise to international concerns. The Catholic Church and the United Nations (UN) have called on both sides to de-escalate the tensions and hold dialog to resolve differences.
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