One of the arguments people abroad always use is: Why can’t you just wait until the recall referendum in August? My answer is simple: Why should I believe there will be a recall referendum in August? This is, of course, a very subjective opinion in my part, but it is based in the way that Chavez and his partisans have manipulated the law and the Constitution in the last four years to get their own way at every single instance. But now I can make a very solid argument.
According to Venezuela’s Constitution (article 75), the Deputies in the National Assembly can also be recalled at the midpoint of their period, which is five years. Since they were elected more than two and a half years ago, we should be able to do this the same way we “might” recall Chavez in August. The requirements are simple, you need 25% of the registered voters to sign a petition to recall the Deputy and then you need a similar number to show up and vote for the recall with a simple majority. So, at the Firmazo (Big sign-up) on Feb 2nd. signatures were gathered to recall those Chavista Deputies elected individually in 2000. Below I show the names of the best known Deputies, the number of votes they received in their election in the year 2000 and the number that signed the petition to have them recalled two weeks ago.
Votos received (2000) Number who signed petition
Iris Varela 14,998 32.282
Nicolas Maduro 26.360 45.720
Tarek William Saab 26.710 44.136
Ramon Dario Vivas 43.110 56.754
Cilia Flores 22.852 51.480
As you can see, in all cases more people signed for the recall than these Deputies even received votes for when elected. Thus, you might say: Easy, just submit the petitions and recall all of them!
Well, not quite. As usual everything is not what it seems in Venezuela. When the Consultative referendum was suspended by the Venezuelan Supreme Court, the Court sneaked in a prohibition to hold any form of election, until a decision is made or a new Electoral Commission is elected. There is no time limit for the Court to decide and Chavez’ MVR party controls whether to elect or not a new Electoral Commission. Thus, we can recall 30 Deputies because we have the signatures, but in this “democracy” there can be no elections until further notice. Some democracy, no? And then people wonder why I am skeptical that there will be a recall referendum in August!