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  • The Electoral Council is preparing for the country's elections for the National Constituent Assembly

    The Electoral Council is preparing for the country's elections for the National Constituent Assembly | Photo: EFE

Published 7 July 2017

One of the heads of the National Electoral Council said the call for a non-official poll would be illegal.

The plebiscite called by the opposition in Venezuela is not valid and could lead to legal implications for those who promote it, said the country's National Electoral Council, CNE. 

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"The competence to convene a plebiscite rests only in the electoral body, not any other institution. Therefore, that (the opposition plebiscite) is not legal," Socorro Hernandez, one of the heads of the electoral body, said Thursday during a radio interview.

Julio Borges, the president of the National Assembly, which is currently in contempt of the law, called for a referendum on July 16 to consult with Venezuelans on a number of topics, including who they want to rule the country and if they want to vote in the upcoming National Constituent Assembly.

The CNE, however, already plans to oversee the upcoming election for the National Constituent Assembly on July 30, summoned by President Nicolas Maduro to restore peace to the country.

The electoral campaign for the assembly begins on July 9 and will run until July 27. Three days later, 545 members will be chosen in direct and secret elections that will determine who will sit on the body that will draft the constitutional text that will be put to a popular vote.

Hernandez said the call for illegal elections must not continue because it "continues to encourage violence and continues to dismember the country."

She said the elections called by the right-wing Democratic Unity Roundtable, MUD, are not legal and would be cataloged as an attempt to overtake their functions, which has a penalty under Venezuelan law.

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"The acts of the MUD have legal implications that we will have to analyze and take the appropriate measures against," she said.

Article 4 of the Organic Law on Electoral Processes says "the National Electoral Council, as the governing body and highest authority of the Electoral Power, shall exercise the direction, conduct, supervision and control of electoral processes."

At least 94 people have died since opposition-led protests aimed at toppling the government began in early April. Tensions have intensified as right‐wing National Assembly leaders have called on citizens to boycott the call the free and democratic National Constituent Assembly.

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