Venezuelans overwhelmingly reject Maduro's constitutional efforts

Posted July 18, 2017

Clashes between protesters and police have left at least 93 people dead, 1,500 wounded and more than 500 behind bars.

Activists celebrate Sunday in Caracas after voting in an opposition-organized referendum on President Nicolas Maduro's plan to rewrite the country's constitution.

"Today, Venezuela said yes to a dignified country, a democratic country, a country where people do not have to go because they have no future". Delegates and volunteers, many dressed in white, manned tents and tables.The authorities have refused to greenlight a vote that has been presented as an act of civil disobedience and supporters of Maduro are boycotting it.

98% of voters in an opposition referendum in Venezuela have declared themselves against the plans of President Maduro to elect a "Constituent Assembly", and adopt a new constitution.

In asking the question in the unofficial referendum what role the military should play in the current crisis, the opposition appears to be trying to apply pressure on parts of the military to break with Maduro. The President's call to amend the constitution has led to widespread protests condemning the move.

Sunday's opposition vote was a strong but not overwhelming showing that fell short of the opposition's 7.7 million-vote showing in 2015 legislative elections and the 7.5 million votes that brought Maduro to power in 2013.

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"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.

More than 7.1 million Venezuelans participated in the vote on Sunday, and opposition leaders hailed the results.

Canada and Mexico were among the countries that issued statements Sunday evening lauding the opposition vote.

Despite no official figures being published, some polls suggest that up to three quarters of Venezuelans disapprove of Maduro's presidency.

He said some media had passed off photos of government supporters participating in the practice run as if they were opposition sympathisers at their referendum event.

The referendum Sunday was also marred by violence. They also want any and all political prisoners to be released. "But these seven million people spoke, and it was plenty".

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Venezuela's opposition called for a massive turnout Sunday in a symbolic rejection of President Ni.

Speaking at an afternoon news conference, opposition leader Freddy Guevara made little mention of more protests, however, a sign that the opposition had chose to change tactics in the wake of Sunday's vote.

"They (MUD) have a quiet consultation today (.) I tell them not to go insane, we make a call for them to return to peace, to sit down and talk, to begin a new cycle of dialogue for peace", said Maduro during a telephone interview with the state-owned Venezolana de Televisión. Do you demand that the National Armed Forces and all public officials obey and defend the Constitution of 1999 and support the decisions of the National Assembly?

"I was mugged three times in a year, " Monique recounted, and said her husband's house was broken into.

One unexpected challenger who has emerged is Venezuela's chief prosecutor, Luisa Ortega Diaz.

It is unclear what changes Maduro plans to enact, but opposition members fear any branch of government that doesn't fall in line with Maduro will be left powerless.

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