Venezuelan States Move to Block Recall Vote Against Maduro

  • Governors, a lawmaker cite rulings against referendum process
  • Opposition set to start collecting signatures next week

At least four pro-government governors and one prominent lawmaker in Venezuela said their state courts are taking action in an attempt to block the collection of signatures next week as the opposition seeks to hold a recall referendum on President Nicolas Maduro.

Tareck El Aissami, the governor of Aragua state, and Francisco Ameliach, the governor of Carabobo state, said in separate posts on their Twitter accounts on Thursday that courts in their states had ruled to block the collection of signatures needed to call for the referendum because of fraud allegations. Francisco Rangel Gomez, the governor of Bolivar state, also said on Twitter that the referendum process in his state was suspended.

“There won’t be any referendum,” Rangel Gomez said in a post on his Twitter account. “We won’t let them try to fool our people again. We have dismantled this trap.”

Ramon Carrizalez, the governor of Apure state, said a “judge blocked the actions” of the earlier stage in the referendum process, posting photos on Twitter of what he said was a celebration of the ruling. Pro-government lawmaker Diosdado Cabello, speaking on state television, said a court in his home state of Monagas suspended the referendum there.

The announcements cast fresh doubt upon the opposition’s ability to push for a recall vote as it prepares to collect signatures over three days next week. On Monday, Venezuela’s Supreme Court ruled that the opposition needed to collect signatures from 20 percent of registered voters in every state in order to activate a referendum against Maduro.

To read more about the political standoff in Venezuela, click here.

— With assistance by Jose Orozco

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