Venezuela’s vote to elect more than 500 representatives to the national Constituent Assembly that will be tasked with rewriting the 1999 Constitution will likely take place on July 30, the country’s top electoral authority announced Sunday.
"We're going to propose to the National Electoral Council for its approval ... the date of July 30," Tibisay Lucena, the head of the electoral body, known by its acronym CNE, said in an address on state television.
After opening the registration process for aspiring candidates, the CNE received a flood of interest, with Lucena commenting Sunday that authorities are “surprised” by the sheer quantity of tens of thousands of applications for the process.
According to the CNE chief, a total of 35,438 applicants registered to be nominated as candidates for the various social sectors to be represented in the Constituent Assembly, including workers, retirees, students and other groups, and another 19,876 registered to be nominated as regional candidates.
The Constituent Assembly will be made up of 545 seats — 364 by region, 168 by sector and eight Indigenous representatives.
Now, the 55,314 people who registered will need to submit required documented to the CNE between Tuesday and Saturday this week, including a list of signatures equivalent to 3 percent of the electorate in the case of individuals seeking regional candidacy and between 500 and 1,000 signatures for those looking to become candidates for a particular social sector.
The sectors represented in the process are workers, farmers, people with disabilities, students, retirees, the business sector and communes and communal councils.
President Nicolas Maduro called for the Constituent Assembly to initiate a democratic process to rewrite the country’s constitution and promote dialogue as solution to the intense political deadlock amid an ongoing wave of right-wing opposition protests aimed at toppling the government.
The opposition has rejected Maduro’s Constituent Assembly, and instead right-wing leaders have called for an “escalation” of protests against the socialist government.