Huge Turnout of Venezuelans Opposing Maduro's Attempt to Rewrite the Constitution

Posted July 18, 2017

The political deadlock promises little respite for those suffering in the listing economy of the oil-rich South American nation.

The EU's High Representative / Vice President Federica Mogherini has called on Nicolás Maduro, president of Venezuela, and his government to suspend the election process.

"We're prepared to deepen the political conflict to achieve the reestablishment of constitutional order", the vice president of congress, Freddy Guevara, said at a news conference on Monday flanked by other foes of Mr. Opposition leaders said that was because they were only able to set up 2,000 polling places in a symbolic exercise the government labeled as illegitimate.

Venezuelans living overseas were also given a chance to vote, with impromptu stations in the US, Italy, Spain, Mexico and Columbia - all popular destinations for the ever increasing number of refugees fleeing the crisis in Venezuela.

Sunday's vote was marred by violence when a 61-year-old woman was killed and four people wounded by gunfire after government supporters on motorcycles swarmed an opposition polling site at a church in western Caracas.

The referendum asks three questions of the Venezuelan people - whether they support or not Maduro's call for the ANC, whether they support the Constitution of 1999, which Maduro is seeking to change, and whether officials in public office should be replaced.

More than 98% of voters chose to reject the proposed constitutional assembly; request the military defend the existing constitution; and support fresh elections before Maduro's term ends in 2019.

"It clearly states that Maduro is as deeply unpopular as he has always been thought to be, and it shows, as the polls have suggested, that Venezuelans are overwhelmingly against the idea of establishing a constitutional assembly", Philip reports.

"The result is a remarkable show of force for Venezuela's opposition", New York-based Torino Capital said, noting participation also meant openly defying the government.

Venezuela's opposition vowed on Monday to escalate protests after a massive vote against President Nicolas Maduro in an unofficial plebiscite that the leftist government mocked as a "gigantic fraud".

I'm not sure there is any going backwards from here.

This was a typical step in the constitution of Venezuela. The court nullified eight of the assembly's laws between January and October 2016, after making just one such ruling in the previous 200 years, legal experts say.

Maduro's government has simultaneously held a "dry run" vote to practice the upcoming July 30 referendum.

Tensions in Venezuela continue to rise as President Nicolás Maduro, who became head of state after the death of Hugo Chavez, attempts to solidify the influence of his socialist party.

Venezuela has been plagued by daily outbursts of anger over food shortages and an economic crisis characterised by rampant inflation. The government blames the crisis on an economic war waged by its opponents and outside backers.