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Friday, October 21, 2016
Venezuela Quashes Hopes to Oust President Maduro Through Recall
A nearly year-long push by Venezuela’s opposition to gather support for a referendum recall against President Nicolas Maduro hit a wall late Thursday after the National Electoral Council suspended the next phase of the process, cementing the ruling party’s hold on power.
The opposition was preparing to gather signatures of 20 percent of registered voters next week to try and trigger a recall vote before year-end which could have prompted fresh elections that polls show Maduro would lose. If the referendum is held next year, a loss at the polls for the president would mean that his vice president takes over until 2019.
Even after losing power of Congress 10 months ago, Maduro has managed to stifle constitutional attempts at removing him through increased control over the electoral body, the Supreme Court, intelligence agencies and the military. Since briefly removing former President Hugo Chavez from power in a coup in 2002, the opposition has struggled to gather supporters in the street and sustain protests against the socialist regime.
“This likely spells the end of the presidential recall referendum process, although we never expected it to culminate before the deadline for calling a fresh presidential election,” Credit Suisse analysts led by Casey Reckman wrote in a report. “Those who are frustrated with living conditions under the Maduro administration could become more angered that a key democratic channel for their discontent has effectively been blocked.” READ MORE