Venezuelan opposition holds poll to determine Maduro's support

By Andrew V. Pestano Follow @AVPLive9 Contact the Author   |   July 16, 2017 at 1:32 PM
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July 16 (UPI) -- The Venezuelan opposition is holding an unofficial referendum to determine support for President Nicolas Maduro's Constituent Assembly, which seeks to establish a new Constitution.

The Venezuelan opposition's electoral event asks Venezuelans who have an official identification card or passport whether they reject Maduro's Constituent Assembly, which is scheduled to be held July 30.

The poll also asks citizens whether they demand that Venezuela's security forces obey and defend the country's 1999 Constitution, as well as that the armed services support the National Assembly legislature, which is controlled by the opposition.

In other questions, the referendum asks citizens if Venezuela's public institutions should be restored in accordance with the Constitution and whether the South American country should hold presidential elections before Maduro's term ends in 2018.

The referendum, which is being held throughout Venezuela and in several other countries, is the opposition's attempt to show how many Venezuelans support Maduro and his policies amid a political and economic crisis. Maduro's government on Sunday is also holding an electoral event -- essentially a trial run of the upcoming Constituent Assembly.

The opposition has criticized Maduro's Constituent Assembly as an attempt to establish a dictatorship in which the National Assembly's powers would be further weakened.

The opposition's unofficial poll attempts to determine what Venezuelans think about key criticisms against Maduro's regime: that Venezuela's institutions, including security forces and the Supreme Tribunal of Justice, work in favor of Maduro; that the National Assembly has been stripped of power; and that a majority of Venezuelans support the removal of Maduro as president.

Maduro and his officials have repeatedly said the opposition's poll is not a legitimate electoral procedure.

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