CARACAS, (Pakistan Point News - APP - 27th july,2016) - Venezuela's opposition demanded a key ruling Tuesday on its push to organize a recall vote against President Nicolas Maduro, whose camp insisted there is "no way" he will face a referendum this year. Maduro's opponents are hoping the threat of unrest caused by Venezuelans fed up with a dire economic crisis, food shortages and mounting chaos will force the authorities to let a recall referendum go ahead.
But as a key deadline in the process arrived with no immediate word from electoral officials, the opposition coalition, the Democratic Unity Roundtable (MUD), sought to ratchet up the pressure. "The country is expecting an announcement on when we will collect the (four million signatures) to open the doors to the referendum," MUD executive secretary Jesus Torrealba told electoral authorities at a press conference. Tuesday was the final day for the National Electoral Council (CNE) to rule on the validity of an initial batch of 200,000 signatures needed to move on to the next stage of the long and winding recall process.
But it was unclear when the CNE, which the opposition accuses of dragging its feet, would announce its ruling. If the CNE gives the green light, the opposition will then have to collect another four million signatures, or 20 percent of the electorate. That would then force a recall referendum, in which Maduro's opponents would need more votes than he won with in 2013 -- around 7.5 million. It is a lengthy bureaucratic tightrope, and the opposition is racing to get across it by January 10, the cutoff to trigger new elections.