monday, 17 july of 2017

Venezuela holds unofficial referendum on constitutional rewrite

The Venezuela government's opposition opened polls Sunday over President Nicolas Maduro's call to rewrite the constitution. Many have accused Maduro's plan to be undemocratic and a way to suppress the months of anti-government protests against his presidency. Maduro states that the new assembly which would elect 527 members as it is the only solution to bring an end to the anti-government protests that have brought significant violence to the country. The opposition's vote is being held at over 2,000 polling stations and is also available to those abroad, with as many as 11 million of the 30 million population turning out to vote. The government has urged its supporters to boycott the vote as electoral officials have not approved it.

Venezuela has faced significant political unrest since the December 2015 election. In May the US Department of the Treasury announced sanctions against Venezuelan Supreme Court justices for usurping democracy. In October the National Assembly voted to open criminal impeachment proceedings against Maduro, alleging that he manipulated the constitution to remain in power. That same month the Assembly also declared that there was a breakdown of constitutional order and that the government had staged a coup by blocking an attempt to remove Maduro from power. Instability peaked on March 30 when the Supreme Court of Venezuela dissolved the opposition-controlled National Assembly and assumed all legislative powers.

(Published by Jurist - July 16, 2017)

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