Chavez ‘ready’ for referendum

Even though it could remove him from office, Chavez says he accepts the verdict of the National Electoral Council, which says there are sufficient validated signatures on a petition for a referendum to take place.

Council director Jorge Rodriguez said the opposition had collected 2,451,821 valid signatures for a referendum, more than the 2,436,083 minimum required by law, or 20 percent of the population.

The referendum will likely be held on August 8, if the council is able to organize it by then.

“We’re going when the National Electoral Council orders it. We’re ready to begin the real fight of the presidential recall,” Chavez said.

Chavez has said that he would abide by the results of the referendum.

“To be frank, I hope that my opponents have gathered enough signatures to trigger a referendum, because I relish the opportunity to once again win the people’s mandate,” he said on May 26.

Street violence between pro-and anti-Chavez demonstrators shook Caracas in anticipation of the announcement.

Chavez claims he is fighting what he calls Venezuela’s corrupt, privileged oligarchy.

His critics say he is wrecking the economy, but Venezuela’s poor majority defends him.

When the result of the petition recount was announced those against Chevez set off fireworks and celebrated in the streets. His supporters meanwhile rallied in protest near the presidential palace.

Chavez was ousted in April 2002 in a two-day military coup, and was returned to power 47 hours later.

He also weathered a lengthy general strike in late 2002 and early 2003, which shut down the country’s oil industry.

The opposition campaigned last year to collect enough signatures on a petition to call for a referendum on Chavez’s rule.

Comments are closed.

Post Navigation