The collection of more than 4.2 million signatures required for a referendum to recall the mandate of the president of Venezuela, Nicholas Maduro, will be next Wednesday, the electoral authority announced this Friday, but the opposition and analysts criticized conditions that they consider make this initiative impossible.
“The reception day for the expressions of will for the RR (recall referendum) will take place on January 26, between 6:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m., in 1,200 centers” throughout the country, the National Electoral Council (CNE) reported on Twitter.
The CNE specified that the electoral register of the elections for governors and mayors on November 21, with 20.9 million registered in this nation of 30 million inhabitants, will be used.
The opposition organizations that on Monday began the procedures for the consultation against the mandate of the socialist president (2019-2025) will need to collect signatures equivalent to 20% of the registration in Caracas and each of the 23 states of the country.
This means that they will only have 12 hours to collect more than 4.2 million signatures.
If 20% is not reached in a single region, even if the goal necessary for the consultation is achieved in the rest, the procedure would be annulled.
The Venezuelan Movement for the Recall (MOVER), made up of half a dozen small political organizations, is the main promoter of the recall, without formal support from the majority opposition political parties.
“What is the fear, #Maduro? Not even a few signatures do you allow (…). The dictatorship does not take care of the form,” opposition leader Juan Guaidó wrote on Twitter, questioning the conditions set for the collection of signatures.
“It is a buffoonery to announce (…) 1,200 collection centers for demonstrations of will so that 20 million citizens can exercise their right. That is like putting 1,000 liters of water in a 5-liter container,” criticized César Pérez Vivas, one of the promoters of the recall against Maduro.
“If this number of expressions of will is achieved at this stage of reception, the CNE will then organize the recall referendum. Otherwise, it will end the process, which will activate the constitutional provision that establishes that only one request can be made. revocation during the period for which the official was elected,” added the CNE.
The opposition already tried unsuccessfully to call a recall in 2016 against Maduro’s first term (2013-2019), prior to his re-election in 2018 in votes that his opponents described as “fraud” and that were unknown by the United States, the European Union and several Latin American countries.
The only recall that was successful was faced by the late socialist leader Hugo Chávez in 2004 and he emerged victorious with a landslide victory of almost 20 points.
“Not only are they denying the de facto recall, but burying all the effort that the government and the CNE had been making, even sacrificing Barinas, to wash their faces. A too crude maneuver,” said analyst Benigno Alarcón, referring to the repetition of the elections. of governor in Chavez’s homeland on January 9, won by the opposition.
The CNE was restructured last year as the result of a negotiation that opened space for authorities close to the opposition, although it remains controlled by Chavismo.