Venezuela’s electoral board has postponed announcing a date for the opposition to begin collecting the votes it needs to trigger a recall referendum against the government of President Nicolas Maduro.
The National Electoral Council (CNE) pushed back from Tuesday to Friday the announcement of a date for the president’s opponents to begin collecting the required four million signatures, the final stage in their push to hold a recall vote.
The Democratic Unity Roundtable (MUD), which is behind the recall campaign, would be allowed to collect the signatures in just three days. The CNE formerly said it is looking at late October for the petition process.
Maduro’s opponents, however, say that is too late. They accuse the council of stalling the process, claiming that the electoral board is staffed by government loyalists.
The coalition is trying to hold a referendum before January 10, 2017, four years into the president’s six-year term.
In the event of a successful recall vote, after the date, Maduro’s administration would remain in power and he would simply transfer his authority to a deputy of his own choice.
The opposition has been calling for protests across the county to push for a recall referendum against the president.
Maduro, who has been under fire by his critics for causing the economic recession, blames the problems on an “economic war.”
He says the opposition has waged the war with a helping hand from the United States in an attempt to bring about a coup d’état in the oil-rich country.