CARACAS – A majority of Venezuelan voters – 98.4 percent – rejected President Nicolas Maduro’s proposal to form a National Constituent Assembly to amend the country’s constitution in an opposition-backed referendum on Sunday.
The rector of the Universidad Pedagogica Experimental Libertador, Raul Lopez, who is part of the Commission of Guarantors of the referendum, said at least 98 percent of participants voted in favor of rejecting the constituent assembly.
A total of 7,186,170 Venezuelans participated in the unofficial referendum despite it not being backed by the government.
In the referendum, Venezuelans were asked to respond “yes” or “no” to three questions.
They were asked if they approve the new Constituent Assembly proposed by President Nicolas Maduro; if they want the armed forces to protect the constitution of 1999; and if they want the formation of a national unity government and fresh elections.
Results showed 98.5 percent of respondents voted in favor of the armed forces protecting the constitution following the decisions of the opposition-controlled National Assembly, which was declared in contempt by the Supreme Court last year, stripping it of its powers.
Some 98.3 percent of the participants (6,384,607) backed the renewal of public powers, the holding of “free and transparent” elections and a transitional government of national unity.
The figure obtained by the opposition, however, is lower than the 7,587,579 votes secured by Maduro in the presidential elections of 2013, when he beat opposition leader Henrique Capriles by less than two percentage points.