Sources confirm that opposition leader Henrique Capriles will be announcing the activation of a recall referendum today at an event in Parque Miranda, Caracas. Apparently, the initiative is led by Capriles’ party, Primero Justicia, as a unilateral proposal.
The Constitution states that in order to activate a recall referendum, we need valid signatures of 20% of registered voters, that’s around 3.900.000 of 19,5 million.
Once the referendum is approved, there must be a voter turnout of at least 25% of the voting population, that is, around 4,8 million Venezuelans. The option to revoke Maduro’s mandate must receive at least the same number of votes that Maduro got when he was first elected, meaning, 7.587.579 or more. (Henrique Capriles got 7.363.980 in 2013, and on 6D, the opposition received 250 thousand more votes than Maduro, so this sounds pretty doable).
So I guess los tiempos de Dios are finally right?
Well, it depends whom you ask, because the law states that if the President’s mandate gets revoked before the 4th year of his 6-year term, new elections must be announced within a month. After the President’s 4th year in office, the Vice President, meaning Aristóbulo, for now, would finish out the term.
The thing is, there’s a technical debate over when exactly Maduro’s term began, since some say it started on January 10, 2013 (when a dying Chávez swore him in from Cuba), and some argue for April 19, 2013, the day he got sworn into office. Ultimately, the TSJ or the CNE would decide at which point Maduro’s mandate is halfway through, and when the referendum would trigger new elections.
One could argue that this is Capriles’ bid for staying relevant, especially since tomorrow marks exactly 2 years since Leopoldo López was jailed, and meanwhile Henry Ramos Allup just keeps killing it every time he speaks.
The process of activating a referendum is long and tedious, and involves going against the CNE every step of the way. Let’s hope Capriles works alongside MUD and treads with strategic caution so this doesn’t backfire.