Both sides feel the end of the political crisis lies in a vote
As July 30, the day of the Venezuelan National Constituent Assembly election, draws closer, the opposition is up in arms trying to build pressure on the Maduro Government to abandon the plans to go to polls with an intention of drafting a new Constitution.
On Sunday, nearly 7.2 million Venezuelans participated in an informal plebiscite organised by the opposition against President Nicolas Maduro’s government, according to agencies. The verdict of the ‘informal plebiscite’ was a resounding expression of popular discontent against the head of the country. However, the embassy of Venezuela in India has said that the ‘vote’ was fraudulent, as it ‘it was unconstitutional’ and was not endorsed by the country’s National Election Council. In addition, the vote did not match the one-person, one-vote rule, and the large numbers were a result of fewer people voting many times over.
The opposition is attacking the government by making use of a provision inserted by former President Hugo Chavez in the Constitution that called for voting to reflect people’s will. It may not have any legitimacy, but could embarrass Maduro.
The vote organised by the opposition, which controls the country’s National Assembly, saw thousands of Venezuelan ex-pats lining up to vote, agencies said. It was initiated in an attempt to gauge popular opinion on President Nicolas Maduro’s plan to convene a constituent assembly to redraft the Constitution of the Latin American country. The opposition is attacking the government by making use of a provision inserted by former President Hugo Chavez in the Constitution that called for voting to reflect people’s will. It may not have any legitimacy, but could embarrass Maduro.
The plebiscite has come under criticism from regional leaders, such as Bolivian President Evo Morales who has slammed the voting. However, the opposition controlled National Assembly had called former Presidents of several Latin American governments such as Bolivia, Costa Rica and Chile to lend greater legitimacy to the vote.
Meanwhile, in Venezuela, dry runs for the National Constituent Assembly saw a large turnout, according to the state-run media house TeleSur, with hundreds of thousands of people lining up to vote for a new Constitution. Maduro called this a victory for peace and harmony. However, ithas largely gone ignored by international media.
The move on the part of the government to convene a constituent assembly has come under severe criticism from the US and other countries. US senator and former presidential candidate Marco Rubio has threatened Venezuela with further sanctions if a constituent assembly is formed. Maduro has initiated the formation of the assembly to find a peaceful solution to the ensuing political crisis and has promised to hold the Constitution-mandated elections in 2018 for the post of President.
While much has been written about the Venezuelan crisis, the country stands at a precipice. The fear of civil war looms large over the country, and the fighting between the opposition and the government protesters have claimed the lives of nearly 100 people. A number of these deaths were an outcome of violent street protests and were not directly related to any police or government action.