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nicolas maduro recall

Venezuela’s National Assembly has appointed 33 judges to the Supreme Court, prompting accusations of an attempted power grab.

The assembly, which is controlled by the opposition, says it has the right to name and fire justices under Venezuela’s constitution.

However, the Supreme Court, which is largely made up of pro-government members, has described the move as illegal.

The opposition is stepping up pressure on President Nicolas Maduro to call early elections.

President Maduro has refused and is instead going ahead with plans to form a constituent assembly which would have the power to rewrite the constitution and bypass the National Assembly.

The impasse has left the country in a political crisis and scores of people have died in months of anti-government protests.

Following the National Assembly’s announcement, the government said it would not allow serving judges to be unseated.

Venezuela Opposition Referendum: Woman Shot Dead in Voting Queuing

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Venezuela’s Supreme Court has ordered “civil and military authorities” to carry out “coercive actions” in response to the appointments, but it is unclear what that will entail.

Meanwhile, the opposition Democratic Unity coalition (MUD) has called for protest marches on July 22 from seven points in the capital Caracas to the Supreme Court headquarters.

The opposition says the current justices are illegitimate, having been rushed into their positions shortly before the governing party lost its majority in 2015.

Since the opposition took over the National Assembly last year the court has consistently blocked all bills passed by Congress.

The opposition announced last week that it would appoint new judges and that it would also take the first steps to set up a national unity government. Analysts say such proposals raise the possibility of a parallel state structure.

On July 20, millions of Venezuelans joined a general strike called by the opposition.

At least three people were killed in clashes between police and protesters and there were more than 300 arrests.

Protesters barricaded roads in Caracas and other cities with rubbish and furniture.

The opposition said that 85% of the country joined the strike but President Maduro said its effect was minimal and that its leaders would be arrested.

Meanwhile, Colombia, France, Spain, the US and the EU have urged the Venezuelan government to cancel the vote for a new constituent assembly on July 30.

However, President Nicolas Maduro has rejected the calls.


Opponents of the Venezuelan government marched through Caracas after election officials blocked their attempts to hold a recall referendum against President Nicolas Maduro.

The wives of two jailed opposition leaders headed the marchers who were dressed in white and waved national flags.

On October 20, election officials suspended a petition seeking a referendum on removing President Nicolas Maduro from office.

The move was criticized by the Organization of American States (OAS).

In a statement, 12 OAS member countries, including Brazil, Argentina and Colombia said they were “profoundly worried by the decision taken by the Venezuelan National Electoral Council”.Nicolas Maduro imposes visas for Americans

OAS Secretary General Luis Almagro said: “Only dictators deny their citizens their rights, ignore the legislature and have political prisoners.”

The election commission said it had halted the recall vote process on the grounds of alleged irregularities during the gathering of signatures for the first petition required by the rules.

On October 18, the council also ordered a delay of about six months in regional elections due at the end of the year and which polls suggested the opposition would have won.

The march was led by two wives of jailed government opponents: Lilian Tintori, the wife of Leopoldo Lopez, and Patricia Gutierrez, the wife of the former mayor of San Cristobal, Daniel Ceballos.

Both have advocated hard-line tactics against the government.

“There’s no obstacle that can defeat Venezuelan mothers, fighting for the future of their children,” said Lilian Tintori who has called for a campaign for civil disobedience.

The two women were accompanied by several thousand marchers, mainly women, dressed in white and carrying Venezuelan flags.

The march is the first of a series of protests the opposition say they intend to organize to try to put pressure on the Electoral Council to revoke its decision.

On October 19, they said they would “retake Venezuela from top to toe,” in a massive street protest on the day which would have been the start of a second petition.

President Nicolas Maduro, who is abroad, called for calm in a TV address.

“I call on everyone to remain peaceful, to engage in dialogue, respect law and order,” he said.

One of Nicolas Maduro’s most powerful allies, Diosdado Cabello, said top opposition leaders should be jailed for attempting election fraud.

Earlier this week, the government placed travel restrictions on eight opposition leaders.


Leaders of the Venezuelan opposition have accused the government of staging a coup by blocking their drive to hold a referendum on removing President Nicolas Maduro from office.

Henrique Capriles called for nationwide protests next week.

Election officials had suspended a petition needed to organize the referendum.

The move stopped the recall vote that polls said the government would lose.

Henrique Capriles said the coup “had been carried out against all Venezuelans”.

Henrique Capriles has told a crowd of supporters not to feel intimidated and to vote in upcoming local elections

The opposition figurehead said in the protests, called for October 26: “We will take Venezuela from end to end. The whole people will be mobilized to restore constitutional order.”

Earlier the opposition said a court order had barred eight of them from leaving the country.

Reasons for the ban were not given but the council had said fraud had been reported in the referendum process.

The Venezuelan opposition had planned to secure the required signatures for the recall vote next week.

Another of the banned leaders, opposition coalition leader Jesus Torrealba, said: “It’s gratuitous aggression. We are the majority, in the street and in Congress.

“They cannot postpone the change that the country is demanding.”

The opposition controls Venezuela’s Congress but says Nicolas Maduro has power over key institutions such as the electoral authorities and the courts.

The government has accused the opposition of inventing names on the first of two petitions required to endorse the recall vote.

Nicolas Maduro said there had been “a gigantic fraud”, adding: “Their cheating is coming out.”

Diosdado Cabello, also of Nicolas Maduro’s Socialist Party, said: “We hope justice will be served and that those responsible for this swindle will be detained.”

The decision to suspend the referendum process came despite intense international pressure on President Nicolas Maduro from the US and other Latin American countries to allow it to go ahead.


The first step in Venezuela’s opposition campaign to recall President Nicolas Maduro has been approved, the national election council has announced.

The council said the opposition had succeeded in gathering 1% of voter signatures in all 24 of Venezuela’s states.

The move is the first part of the opposition’s push for an early end to Nicolas Maduro’s term in office.

In a further twist, the Supreme Court suspended opposition activity in Venezuela’s parliament.Nicolas Maduro imposes visas for Americans

The court said activity would be frozen until three opposition members being investigated for vote-buying were removed.

The country is going through a political and economic crisis, which has led to shortages of basic goods and looting.

The inflation rate is one of the highest in the world and there are long queues outside shops.

The election council said Nicolas Maduro’s opponents had cleared the threshold of obtaining 200,000 valid signatures on a petition demanding that the president face a recall referendum.

The council did not set a date for the next stage of the lengthy recall process – when the opposition will need to collect four million signatures in just three days.

The opposition accuses Nicolas Maduro’s administration of mismanaging the economy.

He was elected in April 2013 and his term runs until 2019.

Correspondents say election council head Tibisay Lucena provided the president with a major fillip by stating that claims of widespread fraud in the opposition petition should be investigated.

Tibisay Lucena said the authorities had detected more than 1,000 apparently falsified signatures.

“The electoral authority will ask the state prosecutor’s office to investigate,” she said.

However, Tibisay Lucena made clear that 98% out of about 408,000 signatures gathered by the opposition Democratic Unity (MUD) coalition – twice the minimum required in the initial phase – had been validated.

The government made clear that it was determined not to allow a referendum this year.

It has initiated nearly 9,000 lawsuits around the country in an effort to try to halt the referendum push.

Correspondents say timing is vital because if President Nicolas Maduro loses a referendum this year – as polls suggest he will – a new presidential vote will be triggered, giving the opposition a chance to end 17 years of socialist rule.

If the president loses a referendum in 2017, he would be replaced by his vice-president, effectively ensuring the socialist party remains in power until the next presidential election scheduled for 2018.

Opposition leaders want Tibisay Lucena immediately to announce a date for the collection of 20% of signatures in order to trigger a referendum as soon as possible.