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News > Latin America

Venezuela: Over 600K Opposition Recall Signatures Invalid—11,000 Belong to Deceased People

  • CNE head Tibisay Lucena announces next steps for recall referendum.

    CNE head Tibisay Lucena announces next steps for recall referendum. | Photo: AFP

Published 10 June 2016

Among the signatures, almost 11,000 were found to be of deceased people; almost 10,000 had nonexistent identity cards; and 3,000 belonged to minors.

Over 605,000 signatures submitted to Venezuelan electoral authorities by the opposition for a recall referendum against President Nicolas Maduro were found to be defective and therefore have been disqualified, reported the president of Venezuela's National Electoral Council, Tibisay Lucena, Friday.

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The biggest chunk of invalid signatures—11,000—were found to belong to people who were deceased.

Another 10,000 signatures belonged to nonexistent identity cards and 3,000 belonged to minors.

As a result, Jorge Rodriguez, a PSUV representative and mayor of the Libertador district in Caracas, demanded the opening of an investigation into the alleged massive signature fraud.

The CNE will now start the process of verifying the remaining 1.4 million names on the petition submitted May 2.

Citizens who wish to withdraw their names from the list of valid signatures will be allowed to do so next week, Lucena said.

Those voters who wish to leave their names on the list will have to return the following week to have their fingerprints double-checked by electoral authorities.

After that, the CNE will have 20 working days to determine if the opposition petition qualifies for the next stage of the recall process, which consists of collecting signatures from 20 percent of registered voters.

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Maduro has reiterated that the opposition has the right to call for the referendum, but he has also emphasized that they have to follow the correct procedures.

His opponents have accused electoral authorities of stalling the process.

But Maduro and others have said that it was the opposition that failed to submit the request for a recall referendum sooner, arguing that it should have been done as early as January if they wanted to ensure that the referendum would happen this year.

He speculated that the timing was due to the fact that the opposition was hoping for a more dramatic collapse of the government than a recall referendum.

Right-wing leaders are pushing for the referendum to happen before the end of the year, which would mean that the country would be forced to hold snap elections to elect the next president if Maduro were removed from office.

If a recall referendum removes Maduro from office after he passes the four-year mark of his term in office, Jan. 10, 2017, then Vice President Aristobulo Isturiz will take over as president until the next scheduled election, leaving the opposition to have to wait until 2019.

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