Venezuela’s Maduro rules out recall referendum before 2017

A successful recall vote before 2017 would trigger new elections, but if it occurs after that deadline, Maduro's vice president would replace him.

Photo by: Reuters (Archive)
Photo by: Reuters (Archive)

Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro speaks during his weekly broadcast "En contacto con Maduro" (In contact with Maduro) at the Miraflores Palace in Caracas, Venezuela, May 31, 2016.

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro said on Saturday that a recall referendum against him would be held next year at the earliest.

However, his opponents have been racing to hold a referendum before January 10.

A successful recall vote before January 10 would trigger new presidential elections. However, if the president is recalled after that deadline, his vice president would replace him.

"There will be no blackmailing here. If the requirements of the recall referendum are met, it will be next year and that's it," Maduro said.

"If the requirements aren't met, there will be no referendum and that's it," he added.

People shout at Venezuelan National Guards (not pictured) during riots for food in Caracas, Venezuela, June 2, 2016.

On Friday, Venezuela’s National Electoral Council (CNE) invalidated over 600,000 signatures on a petition, which was handed in on May 2, mostly because of errors in filling out forms.

The opposition blames the CNE of working alongside the government to stall the referendum.  

On the other hand, Maduro blames opposition of creating chaos and planning a coup against his administration.

A woman carrying a baby queues next to others to try to buy food and staple items outside a supermarket in Caracas May 17, 2016. (Reuters)

Maduro has been losing his popularity due to the political and economic crisis in the country which has the world’s highest inflation rate at 180 percent.

Soviet-like product shortages and deep recession have battered the reputation of the socialist government which was formed in 2013.

Almost everyday people gather in towns and cities across Venezuela to protest against chronic shortages of food and medicine caused by a long-running financial crisis in the country.

Venezuela has become an entirely oil-dependent country after its state-run industries hobbled.

Following the sharp drop in the price of oil, the country has struggled to find money to import food and medicine.

Currently, about 80 percent of drugs are in short supply in the country.

Hospitals and pharmacies are struggling to restock HIV and cancer treatments, insulin for diabetics and painkillers.

TRTWorld and agencies