Caracas, March 16 (Venezuelanalysis.com).- According to a statement issued by the Embassy of Venezuela in the United States, the government of Venezuela considers that the March 15th decision by the Electoral Chamber of the Supreme Court with regard to a recall referendum on President Hugo Chavez is contrary to Articles 335 and 336 of the Venezuelan Constitution.
On Monday, in spite of an explicit prohibition by the Supreme Court’s Constitutional Chamber, the Electoral Chamber decided that over 800,000 signatures where personal data appeared to be filled out with similar handwriting would have to be counted as valid when deciding if a recall referendum must be held against President Chavez. This brought the total number of signatures in favor of a presidential recall referendum to 2.7 million, which would exceed the 2.4 million needed to convoke a recall referendum.
“The government of Venezuela respects the independence of the Supreme Court,” says the statement. However, a group of pro-government politicians introduced yesterday a “constitutional protection” appeal before the Court.
A final decision by the Court’s Constitutional Chamber is expected today or tomorrow, and the Court’s Plenary would be convoked if necessary.
The statement by the Venezuelan Embassy follows:
Statement of the Venezuelan Embassy in regards to the ruling of the Electoral Chamber of the Supreme Tribunal on March 15th.
The Venezuelan Government abides by the rule of law
The decision made by the Electoral Chamber of the Supreme Court, on March 15th, is the latest controversy regarding the Venezuelan referendum process. The decision by this chamber was based on constitutional claims made by the opposition regarding the CNE’s (The National Electoral Council) decision to make 800 thousand plus signatures subject to the “repair process” (verification by those appearing as signers). The Electoral Chamber’s decision is contrary to Articles 335 and 336 of the Venezuelan Constitution. Under the Constitution this chamber does not have the competence to make decisions on any constitutional matters. Instead, the final arbiter of constitutional interpretation is the Constitutional Chamber of the Supreme Court. Thus, the Electoral Chamber’s ruling is one that is against the principle of due process, and adherence to the rule of law.
The government of Venezuela respects the independence of the Supreme Tribunal, will proceed under all appropriate laws and await the final ruling on this matter which lies under the authority and jurisdiction of the Constitutional Chamber of the Supreme Tribunal.
We should all examine carefully the provisions of our Constitution, and ask all members of the public to respect the democratic and peaceful character of the social, economic, and political process of transformation that is on-going in Venezuela. As well, it is important that everyone do his/her part to ensure a peaceful and constitutional resolution to the issues surrounding the referendum process.
The government looks forward to a final decision in this matter by the Constitutional Chamber of the Supreme Court.