- Title: Constituent election stokes fears for democracy in divided Venezuela
- Date: 28th July 2017
- Summary: CARACAS, VENEZUELA (RECENT) (REUTERS) POLITICAL ANALYST, OSWALDO RAMIREZ, DURING INTERVIEW (SOUNDBITE) (Spanish) POLITICAL ANALYST, OSWALDO RAMIREZ, SAYING: "The most important thing is that (President Nicolas Maduro) continues to sit on the throne, that he continues to sit in the Miraflores (palace) with the capacity to control a set of measures which allow him to administer power on the one hand, but on the other, to try and play the last hand that I think Chavez couldn't play and that is to change the state. To effectively advance towards eliminating the social state of law and representation through elections and moving on to becoming a communal state." GENERAL VIEW OF OPPOSITION PROTESTERS MARCHING IN THE STREET AGAINST CONSTITUENT ASSEMBLY PROTESTERS MARCHING, VENEZUELAN FLAG BEING WAVED IN CROWD PROTESTERS MARCHING, HOLDING SIGNS AGAINST REPRESSION GENERAL VIEW OF MADURO SWEARING IN CANDIDATES FOR CONSTITUENT ASSEMBLY CANDIDATES RAISING HANDS DURING SWEARING IN (SOUNDBITE) (Spanish) VENEZUELAN PRESIDENT, NICOLAS MADURO, SAYING: "If Venezuela were consumed by chaos and violence and the Bolivarian Revolution were destroyed, then we would engage in combat, we will never surrender. What can't be done with votes we will do with weapons, we will free our people using weapons."
- Embargoed: 11th August 2017 14:27
- Keywords: Venezuela Nicolas Maduro constituent assembly vote election
- Location: CARACAS, VENEZUELA
- City: CARACAS, VENEZUELA
- Country: Venezuela
- Topics: Government/Politics
- Reuters ID: LVA0036RMRN7R
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: With just days to go, Venezuela is bracing for a controversial constituent assembly election which has stirred up deep-rooted divisions in the South American country.
President Nicolas Maduro has insisted the vote will unite the OPEC nation, but the opposition decries it as a means to solidify socialist rule at the expense of democracy.
The vote on Sunday (July 30) will choose members of a Constituent Assembly which will have power to rewrite the constitution and override the current opposition-led legislature. But a recent opinion poll by company Datanalisis reported 85 percent of Venezuelans oppose President Nicolas Maduro's plans for a constituent assembly. It also put Maduro's approval rating at 21.9 percent.
Some analysts believe the constituent assembly election is simply designed to strengthen the president's hand over the country in the face of fierce opposition.
Maduro has vowed to push ahead with Sunday's (July 30) vote and says it will bring peace to Venezuela after some four months of anti-government protests that have killed at least 108 people. Labelling his rivals as usurpers backed by an imperialist United States, the president has crushed hopes that a negotiated solution will resolve political deadlock in the country.
Venezuela is also wracked by shortages in food and medicine, a flailing economy and widespread crime. Critics of the Constituent Assembly contend that the new body will not address grassroots problems affecting the country's 30 million citizens.
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