Tuesday, August 02, 2016

Venezuela Recall Moves Along

We all should know by now the importance of timing for a possible recall referendum in Venezuela. If it happens before January 10, 2017 there will be a new election. The government, knowing a loss is quite likely, is stalling as much as possible. But it also knows that completely shutting down the recall effort could lead to serious consequences, so it has let the opposition through the first hurdle, which is certifying 1% of voter signatures in each state. It took three months to make that decision.

The next step is to get 20% of voter signatures (about 4 million) and it is widely reported that must happen within three days (that is not in the constitution--I haven't actually seen the relevant law). The opposition has traditionally been fractured, but I have to assume they've been planning that effort for months--it will take a ton of organization.

The government is stuck. It does not want this to go forward quickly, and is undermining it in a number of different ways (such as lawsuits). But it also cannot just say it won't happen, especially since the international community has set its mind on having a vote. The most likely scenario is allowing a vote on January 11 (yes, I could even see it being that brazen) which, if lost, would still keep Chavismo in power a little longer.


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