Jorge Rodriguez, a Venezuelan
government official, shows a copy of the form to activate the vote with
invalidated signatures at the Supreme Court of Justice in the capital,
Caracas, June 13, 2016. ©AFP
asked the country’s electoral authorities to block the opposition’s bid
to hold a recall referendum, accusing them of massive ‘fraud.’
right-wing opposition coalition, the Democratic Unity Roundtable (MUD),
is racing to call a referendum by the end of the year. It submitted a
petition with 1.8 million signatures on May 2, to electoral officials to
fulfill the legal requirements for a recall referendum against
President Nicolas Maduro.
Jorge Rodriguez, an aide to Maduro,
said Wednesday that thousands of signatures gathered for the recall vote
are for the dead, convicts, and minors, making the petition invalid.
have just asked for the cancellation of the registration of the
Democratic Unity Roundtable (MUD), for being involved in the worst vote
fraud in the country’s history,” Rodriguez said.
The opposition has denied the charges, saying the government is delaying the process.
National Electoral Council (CNE) was due Tuesday to declare if the
opposition has managed to gather a minimum 200,000 signatures for the
recall vote, the first stage of the long and winding recall procedures.
The council has not announced the result yet.
President Nicolas Maduro delivers a speech during a rally outside
Miraflores presidential palace in Caracas on June 22, 2016. ©AFPFor
the recall referendum to be successful, the opposition needs to collect
7.6 million signatures in support of Maduro’s ouster.
opposition is trying to hold a referendum before January 10, four years
into the president’s six-year term. In the event of a successful recall
vote, the power would be passed to Vice President Aristobulo Isturiz.
in May, Isturiz ruled out the possibility of a recall vote, saying,
Maduro will not be ousted “because there will be no referendum.”
2014, Venezuela has been grappling with protests against Maduro who is
under fire by his critics, most notably the opposition, for causing the
economic recession through mismanagement.
The government of
Maduro, however, has denounced the opposition’s plans as a US-backed
attempt to bring about a coup d’état in the oil-rich country that is
home to 29 million people.