26/5/2016 OAS Secretary General calls for referendum in Venezuela

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The Secretary General of the Organization of American States (OAS), Luis Almagro, has called for the prompt holding of a recall referendum against Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro. Speaking to the CNN news network, the Uruguayan OAS head declared that a referendum is the “only solution” to the crisis in Venezuela.

Almagro is advocating that the referendum to decide on Maduro’s continuation in office be held before the end of the year. He is thus backing the demand of the opposition alliance, known as the “Democratic Unity Roundtable” (MUD), which hopes to topple the leftist president through a popular vote.

The alliance claims that in early May it submitted two million signatures to the National Electoral Council (CNE) for Maduro’s recall. The competent authorities have reported that they are now in the process of verifying the validity of the signatures.

Venezuela’s Constitution provides for the possibility of a recall referendum against any elected president. The first step towards the calling of a referendum is the collection of signatures from one percent of the electorate. Once the necessary number of signatures are confirmed, the CNE then authorizes the actual referendum. If 20 percent of registered voters demand a recall, a popular vote is held. The president is removed from office if the number of people who vote against him is greater than the number who originally elected him.

The call for a recall referendum in Venezuela is backed by Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Uruguay and the United States.