By Zach Marzouk
Venezuela’s opposition have announced that they have collected enough votes required to advance the referendum for Maduro to be recalled.
The opposition seek to remove President Nicolas Maduro as the President and collected a total of 409,313 signatures. At least 1% of registered voters in every state had to sign in order to advance the bid for the referendum to take place.
The electoral authorities have 20 days to verify the signatures collected before announcing a deadline for the second petition where more signatures are required to fully put in motion the referendum process.
The timing of the referendum is extremely important as if Maduro loses a referendum in 2016 then this would trigger a presidential vote which could potentially see the end of the 17 years of socialism in the country.
However, if the referendum were to be held in 2017 and Maduro loses it he would be replaced by his vice president and the Socialist party would still be in power until at least the end of 2018.
Maduro has been heavily criticised as the country has slumped into near economic collapse thanks to a number of factors including the recent slump in oil prices. There is a lack of basic goods with citizens having to form huge lines to try and buy what they need.
Maduro was elected in 2013 after the death of Hugo Chavez and was a former bus driver and foreign minister.