Published: Mon, July 17, 2017
Global Media | By Meredith Barber

In Unofficial Vote, Venezuelans Overwhelmingly Reject Constitutional Rewrite

In Unofficial Vote, Venezuelans Overwhelmingly Reject Constitutional Rewrite

More than 7 million Venezuelans voted in Sunday's unofficial referendum held by the opposition to heap pressure on President Nicolas Maduro and repudiate his plan to rewrite the OPEC nation's constitution, monitors said.

The central question before voters concerned Maduro's intention to hold an election on July 30 to choose 545 members of a citizens' body called the "Constituent Assembly" that would redo the constitution.

A coalition of some 20 opposition parties planned to formally call Monday for the launch of what it called the "zero hour" campaign of civil disobedience in the two weeks leading to the government vote.

Protesters set up a booth in opposition to the Venezuelan government's agenda.

Julio Borges, head of the opposition-run National Assembly, said that he hopes the popular consultation will serve as "a great quake that shakes the conscience of those in power". "We don't want to be a country without freedom", he added, promising further announcements on opposition strategy on Monday.

"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 commission of university rectors announced the results of the consultation on Sunday over the Constituent Assembly called by Nicolas Maduro to rewrite the Venezuelan Constitution. Everyone saw the long lines of voters.

Sunday's almost 7.2 million participation compared with 7.7 million opposition votes in the 2015 legislative elections that it won by a landslide and 7.3 million votes for the opposition in a 2013 presidential poll narrowly won by Maduro.

In three questions at Sunday's event, opposition supporters voted overwhelmingly - by 98 percent - to reject the proposed new assembly, urge the military to defend the existing constitution, and support elections before Maduro's term ends, according to academics monitoring the vote for the opposition.

"Let's start a new round of talks, of dialogue for peace". President Maduro argues that the constituent assembly is the only way to help Venezuela out of its economic and political crisis that has sparked protests nationwide. The opposition has vowed not to participate in those elections.

The woman's death brought to 96 the number of people who have died in almost four months of protests and political agitation in Venezuela's streets. "We are voting to get them out".

Opposition leaders hailed it as a success, while also mourning the death of one woman killed by gunmen in Caracas during the voting.

For the past several months, Venezuelans have taken to the streets in opposition of President Maduro.

"Mr. Fox came to Venezuela paid to promote violence and intervention by foreign powers", tweeted a furious Venezuelan Foreign Minister Samuel Moncada after the Mexican had flown out.

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