It has been an eventful few days in Venezuela. The opposition has increased pressure on the government to proceed with a recall referendum against President Nicolas Maduro.
And, the government agreed to move to the next stage in what promises to be a politically volatile process. CCTV’s Stephen Gibbs reports.
Petition to remove Maduro the next stepIt has been an eventful few days in Venezuela. The opposition has increased pressure on the government to proceed with a recall referendum against President Nicolas Maduro. And, the government agreed to move to the next stage in what promises to be a politically-volatile process. CCTV's Stephen Gibbs reports.
It was last April that almost two million Venezuelans signed a petition calling for a referendum to cut short President Maduro’s presidential term.
According to the Venezuelan constitution, less than a tenth of that – 200,000 signatures – are necessary to move the process forward.
Venezuela’s opposition accuses this country’s supposedly independent national election authority of deliberately stalling.
On Thursday several opposition parliamentarians went to the election authority seeking answers.
“I call on Maduro for reflection, to let the constitution be applied – to not be afraid of the people – and let the people express themselves peacefully,” Julio Borges, Opposition Parliamentarian said.
Moments after he said that a man wielding a pipe struck Borges-who believes local security forces sanctioned the attack.
President Maduro is widely expected to lose the referendum if it goes ahead.
He condemned the assault on Borges, but blamed it on the opposition. The incident led several Latin American governments to express concern about the deteriorating political situation here.
But the following day, a small victory for the opposition.
The head of the electoral authority said the petition signatures will be formally verified the week beginning June 20th. But that looks set to be another convoluted process.
Those that signed the form have to be fingerprinted at their local electoral authority office which, in some cases, will be hundreds of kilometers from where they live.
Some people say their signatures have been already declared invalid – among them opposition leader Henrique Capriles – who signed the document in public.
The opposition accuses the government of deliberately using bureaucracy to impede the popular will. A tactic, it says, will not succeed in defusing a dangerous situation.