Voters to opine on charter bid
CARACAS, Venezuela — Venezuela’s opposition said Monday that it will hold a symbolic referendum to give voters the opportunity to reject President Nicolas Maduro’s plans to rewrite the constitution.
The plan announced by National Assembly President Julio Borges escalates the opposition’s effort to fight Maduro’s proposal. Borges said the vote would be held July 16 — two weeks before Maduro is asking Venezuelans to go to the polls to choose delegates for a special assembly to overhaul the charter.
“We want the people to decide,” Borges told a crowd of opposition leaders gathered in eastern Caracas. “Today we’re united in a single bloc to defend our constitution.”
Protests against Maduro have swept across Venezuela the past three months, leaving at least 80 people dead and hundreds more jailed or injured, and the opposition-controlled legislature has embraced an agenda of civil disobedience.
Polls show that barely 20 percent of Venezuelans favor rewriting the late Hugo Chavez’s 1999 constitution — about the same level of support for Maduro.