Petitions for Recall Referenda against Legislators in Venezuela Mostly Unsuccessful

Government supporters collected enough signatures for recall referenda against opposition legislators in only two cases, with an additional 7 requiring re-certification of signautres. Opposition supporters might have collected enough for only one pro-government legislator.

Caracas, April 7, 2004—Of the 37 petitions for recall referenda against opposition legislators that the pro-government coalition turned in, so far only two of the petitions had sufficient valid signatures for recall referenda to be activated, according to preliminary results presented by the electoral council (CNE). For 7 of the petitions signatures will have to be re-certified by the signers in the so-called “repair” process. If enough signers re-certify their signatures, the mandates of these legislators could then be revoked in a recall referendum. Finally, 14 petitions failed their signature goal completely, so that recall referenda against these legislators will definitely not take place.

The results are preliminary because they represent only 23 of the 37 petitions for recall referenda against opposition legislators that the pro-government coalition parties submitted to the CNE. The results of 14 more petitions are expected soon.

With regard to the 31 petitions for recall referenda against pro-government legislators that the opposition submitted, only one might be subject to a recall referendum, but only if enough signers re-certify their signatures in the “repair” process. All of the remaining 30 petitions submitted by the opposition failed to collect signatures of 20% of voters in the legislator’s district.

In both the opposition’s and the pro-government’s petitions for recall referenda, close to one third of the signatures fall into the category of signatures where personal data and/or signatures themselves appear to have been written with the same handwriting on the petition forms. Each form holds ten signatures, where, according to CNE instructions, each signer was supposed to fill out their own personal data, such as birth date, ID number, and printed name and then sign and place their fingerprint on the form.