The National Electoral Council of Venezuela announced the dates for the collection of signatures in the recall referendum put forth by opposition groups against the government of President Nicolas Maduro to be Oct. 26 through Oct. 28.
The right-wing group Democratic Unity will need to collect signatures from 20 percent of the electorate, nearly 4 million signatures, to proceed with the referendum. The electoral body will then review and verify the signature before deciding in late November whether the opposition met the requirements. The electoral body ruled that the referendum vote won’t be possible until 2017, a decision that has triggered the anger of the anti-government forces.
In August, the CNE announced a roadmap for a possible recall referendum against Maduro, outlining a timeline that must be followed by the opposition.
The MUD submitted its initial petition for the recall referendum on May 2, and had the process been initiated by the opposition in January 2016, it would have most likely ensured the recall vote occur in 2016.
If Maduro remains in office until January 10, 2017, his vice president would serve the remainder of his five-year term in the event that voters recall him.
In June, the CNE announced that 605,727 of the submitted signatures were invalid due to widespread irregularities, including signatures from deceased and non-existent persons and minors.
Under the Venezuelan constitution, a recall referendum must be held this year for new presidential elections to be triggered.
The previous presidential recall referendum was held against President Hugo Chavez, which took eight months, from November 2003 to August 2004. However, Chavez remained in power after the recall was rejected by a wide margin of voters.