Venezuela’s Recall Process Begins Again

The process to collect signatures for recall referenda against nine governors and 109 mayors will run from this coming Saturday until Monday, announced Tibisay Lucena, the president of Venezuela’s National Electoral Council (CNE) yesterday.

By Venezuelanalysis.com
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Caracas, June 14, 2007 (venezuelanalysis.com)— The process to collect signatures for recall referenda against nine governors and 109 mayors will run from this coming Saturday until Monday, announced Tibisay Lucena, the president of Venezuela’s National Electoral Council (CNE) yesterday.

Instead of signatures, fingerprints will be scanned, so as to avoid the problems of the presidential recall referendum, when the CNE charged that hundreds of thousands of signatures were forged. Also, according to Juan José Molina, the director of the technological committee, scanned signatures will help prevent that the list of signers is released to the general public, as happened in the lead-up to the 2004 recall referendum against President Chavez.

Lucena said the CNE “has activated all the mechanisms to guarantee the political rights of both the applicants [signers] as well as of the public officials of whom the activation of this collection of statements of support [for a referendum] is being sought.”

The CNE will set up 1,570 centers throughout the country, where citizens may register their support for a recall referendum against nine out of 23 governors, 109 out of 335 mayors, and 49 out of several hundred state legislators. 3,664 fingerprint scanners will be used to register people’s support for a recall referendum.

For a recall referendum to be convoked, 20% of registered voters in the elected official's jurisdiction have to indicate their support for one. If the petition for a referendum is successful, then the representative may be recalled if at least as many voters vote for their recall as originally voted for them.

Considering that many new voters have been registered since the last local and regional elections, it is going to prove to be difficult for groups that want to recall elected officials to collect the required number of fingerprint “signatures.” Also, many of the elected officials were elected by a fairly large margin, which means that dissatisfaction with these officials has to be correspondingly great, so that more votes can be mobilized against them than originally voted for them.

Lucena said that while the CNE has 15 days to determine whether a recall referendum petition is successful, she said, “I estimate that well before that we will be able to provide results of the [collection] session.”

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