The opposition presidential candidate in the last two Venezuelan general elections, Henrique Capriles, said Sunday that they have "almost" half of the four million votes needed to try and end Nicolas Maduro's presidency via a recall referendum
The opposition presidential candidate in the last two Venezuelan general elections, Henrique Capriles, said Sunday that they have "almost" half of the four million votes needed to try and end Nicolas Maduro's presidency via a recall referendum.
"The will for change is being felt in all corners of the country. Almost two million people have provided their information because they are ready to sign for the recall," wrote Capriles in his Sunday press column.
Next week, he added, "we will be reporting on what is happening with the recall and what the next activities that we will announce will be to exercise our constitutional right to change the government" of Maduro, who was elected in 2013 for a six-year term.
In addition to pushing for the referendum allowed by the constitution midway through a presidential term, the opposition MUD alliance has decided to press for Maduro's voluntary resignation and, at the same time, push for a constitutional amendment or reform that would cut short his term.
The referendum request must be formally made by at least 20 percent of the almost 19 million voters, and for Maduro to be forced to leave power the opposition forces must garner the almost 7.5 million they received in the 2013 elections.
Maduro won the April 2013 presidential vote with 50.78 percent of the votes, compared with 48.95 percent for Capriles, a difference of less than two percent which led the opposition candidate to claim that the government "stole the election."
According to a survey released last week by Datanalisis, at least 7.49 million people would vote in a referendum to depose Maduro, whose administration is negatively perceived by 63.4 percent of the public, almost exactly the same percentage who say he should end his term in office this year.
In contrast, 29.3 percent want him to finish out his full term.
The MUD representative to Venezuela's electoral council, Vicente Bello, said last Friday that although the constitution mandates that not less than 20 percent of the voters - that is, 3,966,144 people - must express support for holding a referendum, "we're organizing to collect 15 percent more than that."