Venezuela Suspends Recall Vote Against President

Venezuela Suspends Recall Vote Against PresidentVenezuela Suspends Recall Vote Against President

Electoral officials in Venezuela have suspended a recall referendum campaign against President Nicolas Maduro, a move that further challenges opposition efforts to oust the socialist leader in the wake of a deepening economic crisis.

Thursday’s decision by the electoral council came after several regional courts voided the results of an earlier signature drive against Maduro due to fraud allegations.

Later on Thursday, former presidential candidate, Henrique Capriles, said he and seven other opposition leaders had received court orders banning them from leaving Venezuela, Al Jazeera reported.

Capriles, who was the opposition’s candidate in both 2012 and 2013 presidential elections against then-President Hugo Chavez and Maduro respectively, shared an image of the court order barring him from leaving the country on his official Twitter account.

“Once again they are wasting their time. Wait for announcements in the next few hours,” he said on Friday.

The electoral council’s decision was in response to rulings by courts in four Venezuelan states that found there was fraud in the initial stage of the petition drive. During that stage, the opposition had collected signatures from 1% of the electorate.

“In adherence with the constitution, the National Electoral Council abides by the decisions ordered by the tribunals and has sent instructions to postpone the process of signature gathering until new judicial instructions are known,” the council said in a statement.

To trigger a stay-or-go referendum, the opposition needed to collect and validate some four million signatures from 20% of the electorate in 24 states over three days next week.


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