Katy says: Article 345 of Venezuela’s Constitution says: “The Constituional Reform project approved by the National Assembly will be submitted to a referendum within the thirty days following its approval. The referendum will be about the reform in its totality, but separate voting will be allowed for up to a third part, if at least one third of the members of the National Assembly approves it, or if were so requested in the reform initiative by the President or by no less than five percent of voters registered in Civil and Electoral Rolls.”

Today, chavista legislator Carlos Escarrá said that, since the initiative had not come from voters, the part about five percent of signatures asking for some sort of article-by-article referendum did not apply. According to him, the rule about the five percent of the voters only applies when the voters themselves are presenting the project. Any guesses as to how chavista magistrates in the Supreme Tribunal would interpret this rule?

Sadly, it sounds like this initiative is dead in the water.

PS.- On an unrelated note, Information Minister (for populist power yadda yadda yadda) Willian Lara said today that the New York Times attacks the Chavez government because it is part of the Bush administration’s propaganda machinery. I’m sure the editors in New York, not to mention the TImes’ readers, are rolling on the floor laughing at the sheer stupidity of this comment.