Venezuela’s opposition announces referendum on new constitution

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Caracas, July 4 (IANS) Venezuela’s opposition party Democratic Unity Roundtable (MUD) announced that it would hold a referendum on July 16 to determine whether to agree with the government’s attempts to rewrite the constitution.

During an event at the Chacao Theatre in Caracas, Venezuela’s opposition-led National Assembly (AN) President Julio Borges on Monday said that this process would allow “the people to decide if they reject or do not recognise the unconstitutional Constituent”, Xinhua news agency reported.

This initiative will have no legal status since it is not supported by the National Electoral Council (CNE), as CNE Director Tania D’Amelio said this vote would only be an “internal process” of the MUD.

The government has been preparing to call the Constituent National Assembly (ANC), which would draft a new Constitution. President Nicolas Maduro saw the new Constitution as the best way to lead the country out of its political and economic crisis.

However, the MUD has said that the ANC was unconstitutional since the government did not hold consultations with the people beforehand.

The Supreme Court, which was accused of being allied with the government, ruled on May 31 that it “is not necessary, nor constitutionally mandated, to hold a consultative referendum prior to the calling of the ANC”.

Opposition protests led by the MUD have been held over the past three months in Venezuela, demanding early general elections and an end to a government plan to rewrite the country’s constitution.

At least 85 people have died in the protests since April across Venezuela.

–IANS

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