Millions of Venezuelans reject constitution rewrite

Millions of Venezuelans voted on July 16 to reject President Nicolás Maduro's plan to rewrite the nation's constitution. The non-binding referendum was organized  by the country's political opposition. More than 7 million, roughly one-third of Venezuela's registered voters, took part, with over 98% rejecting Maduro's plan. Opponents charge that the plan to rewrite the 1999 constitution represents an effort to consolidate Maduro's hold on power. Maduro states that the National Constituent Assembly (ANC), consisting of 527 elected members, is the only solution to bring an end to the anti-government protests that have brought significant violence to the country. The non-binding was met with sporadic violence; several men on motorbikes opened fire on a polling station in Caracas, injuring three and killing a 61-year-old nurse. The government has refused to recognize the vote as legal and will go forward with plans to hold an election for the ANC on July 30 to select delegates for a special assembly that will be responsible for rewriting the 18-year-old constitution.

From Jurist, July 17. Used with permission.

  1. Venezuelans hold rival symbolic polls

    The non-binding referendum that rejected the constitutional reform was of course boycotted by government supportets. The government, meanwhile, held its own "mock vote" to test electoral mechanisms for the upcoming ANC race. Each side is rejecting the other vote as illegitimate. (Venezuelanalysis)

  2. Venezuela: independent left joins civil strike

    Venezuela's Socialism and Freedom Party (PSL) issued a statement of support for Civic Strike that has been called for this weekend to oppose the constitutional reform—but "from a position of independence" regarding the Table for Democratic Unity (MUD), the main conservative-led opposition body. Said PSL leader Orlando Chirino: "Our party has no agreement with the proposal of 'government of national unity' raised by the MUD as the goal of the strike. We are for a government of the workers and the people and all the popular sectors mobilized." (UIT-CI)

    Dissident-left currents in Venezuela have joined mobilizations against Maduro before, while similarly rejecting the right-wing leadership of the opposition.