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Venezuela president to allow referendum if signatures validated

4 May 2016 10:58

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Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro says he will allow a referendum vote on ousting him from power if electoral authorities confirm the signatures submitted on a petition asking for the vote.

“If on this second step, they say that the signatures were collected, we head to a referendum, period,” Maduro said in his weekly radio address on Tuesday.

He made the announcement hours before the National Electoral Council (CNE) was slated to begin inspecting 1.85 million signatures on a petition.

Venezuela’s right-wing opposition coalition, the Democratic Unity Roundtable (MUD), presented the petition to electoral officials on Monday, calling for a referendum to remove the Maduro.

It is not clear, however, whether Maduro’s Tuesday remark is in reference to the petition with the 1.85 million signatures or a second petition.

Under the Venezuelan constitution, the second petition will have to be held and collect some four million signatures to activate a recall referendum.

For the recall to be successful, an equal or greater number of voters than those who elected Maduro in a 2013 election would have to vote in favor. Maduro received 7,587,579 votes in the 2013 vote.

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