Maduro outlines election rules
VENEZUELA’S President Nicolas Maduro reiterated on Tuesday that the only institution allowed to organise elections in Venezuela was the National Electoral Council.
The president was responding to calls for a symbolic referendum planned by opposition groups.
“We are preparing ourselves for a constituent process that will be free, sovereign, constitutional and legal, organised by the only body that organises any electoral process in the country,” said Maduro to his ministers and governors during the Federal Council of Government in the presidential palace.
The president said that to call any kind of referendum it was necessary to meet constitutional requirements and mechanisms.
“No one can decide to convene public consultations that are binding in violation of the constitution, the rights established here or on their own,” he said.
He said that a society had to govern its destiny on the basis of respect for the laws, the constitution, rules of play and the public powers.
“No one can claim a parallel, illegal, unconstitutional, improvised state,” he warned.
At least 94 people have died since opposition-led protests aimed at toppling the Maduro government began in early April.
In addition to those killed, more than 1 200 have been injured and dozens of public buildings and infrastructure, including hospitals and schools, have been attacked by violent opposition supporters, while countless small businesses have been looted.
Opposition leaders have repeatedly rejected calls for dialogue and have threatened to disrupt the National Constituent Assembly.
The electoral campaign for the assembly begins on Sunday 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.