Opposition protests outside CNE president’s home for rejection of referendum signatures

The demonstrators shouted insults, and banged pots outside Carrasquero's home in Maracaibo

Maracaibo, Venezuela.- At approximately 8:00 PM this Saturday, a small group of opposition demonstrators protested outside the house of Francisco Carrasquero, president Venezuela’s National Electoral Council (CNE).

The demonstrators shouted insults, and banged pots outside Carrasquero’s home in Maracaibo, in protest for the rejection of the signatures collected by the opposition to request a recall referendum on President Chavez’s mandate.

Last Friday, Carrasquero read a CNE statement rejecting the signatures since according to the Venezuelan Constitution, a request for a referendum to revoke elected officials’ mandates must be made only after they have finished the first half of their terms, and the opposition had collected the signatures in February as the two months lock-out and strike to force the President out was coming to an end.

The CNE also based their decision on the fact that the petitions presented by the opposition do not make a direct request towards the CNE. Since the new Bolivarian Constitution was approved by the people in 2000, the laws or rules regulating the collection of signatures for the referendums allowed by the new Constitution had not been written by the National Assembly. The CNE will have the rules drafted soon, which could allow the opposition to collect new ones.

The demonstration was organized by the Democratic Action party (Acción Democrática – AD), the main party who ruled country before Chavez’s landslide victory in 1999.

This Saturday, AD´s secretary general Henry Ramos Allup vowed to stage more protests “at airports, restaurants, and in the street” against “those who what to steal our rights”.