Venezue­lan op­po­si­tion will form a unity govern­ment

The Daily Telegraph - - World News - By Han­nah Strange

VENEZUELA’S op­po­si­tion yes­ter­day said it would name a new Supreme Court and work on form­ing a unity govern­ment as it un­veiled a new stage of its of­fen­sive against Pres­i­dent Ni­co­las Maduro.

It fol­lows an un­of­fi­cial ref­er­en­dum that the op­po­si­tion hailed as a ma­jor blow against his So­cial­ist “regime”.

An­nounc­ing the “Zero Hour” cam­paign, Freddy Gue­vara, vice-pres­i­dent of the op­po­si­tion-led Na­tional Assem­bly, said Venezue­lans had de­liv­ered an over­whelm­ing man­date for change in Sun­day’s con­sul­ta­tion vote, in which 7.6mil­lion peo­ple cast bal­lots in de­fi­ance of a govern­ment that branded it il­le­gal. “If the regime in­sists on ig­nor­ing the de­ci­sion of the Venezue­lans, we will do ev­ery­thing to make it re­spect sovereignty,” Mr Gue­vara said, vow­ing to stop “the de­struc­tion of the coun­try be­ing ce­mented”.

A na­tion­wide strike will also be held on Thurs­day, al­though it is un­likely the pub­lic sec­tor will par­tic­i­pate.

The ref­er­en­dum, which came af­ter three months of protests that have claimed at least 90 lives, asked vot­ers to back three pro­pos­als: to block Mr Maduro’s July 30 vote to form an al­ter­na­tive peo­ple’s assem­bly; to call on the armed forces to de­fend the con­sti­tu­tion and the op­po­si­tion-led par­lia­ment; and to form a unity govern­ment ahead of fresh elec­tions.

Some 98 per cent voted in favour of the pro­pos­als, though the ref­er­en­dum was largely boy­cotted by govern­ment sup­port­ers and branded “mean­ing­less” by Mr Maduro. Yes­ter­day se­nior Chav­is­tas al­leged wide­spread fraud in the vote, even as govern­ments across the re­gion and be­yond urged him to ac­knowl­edge the re­sult.

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