Referendum to be held after drafting constitution: Maduro

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro said that once the drafting process is over, he will propose that a referendum be held to approve the new constitution.

Published: 02nd June 2017 11:31 AM  |   Last Updated: 02nd June 2017 11:31 AM   |  A+A-

Venezuela President Nicolas Maduro (centre). (File Photo | AP)


CARACAS: Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro said that once the drafting process is over, he will propose that a referendum be held to approve the new constitution.

"At the end of the process, I am sure, I will propose, openly, expressly and exhaustively, that the new constitution will go to consultative referendum, so that the people will decide whether they agree with the new constitution or not," Maduro said on Thursday during a Council of Ministers meeting.

The President made the remarks hours after the Venezuelan Attorney General Luisa Ortega asked the Supreme Tribunal of Justice for "clarification" regarding the ruling in which Maduro is given freedom to convene a new super-body, known as the Constituent Assembly, to write the constitution without previously calling a referendum, Efe news reported.

Maduro insisted that "the Supreme Tribunal of Justice has issued a clear, unequivocal, conclusive ruling that the convening of the National Constituent Assembly is constitutional and legal."

He called on the Venezuelan people to give their support to candidates registering for the assembly, saying that once this period of administration is completed and the election commission sets a date for a vote, an "exemplary" electoral campaign for members will begin.

He added that he has already presented nine "priorities" for the Constituent Assembly to discuss.

"The first of all is peace. Second is the new post-oil, productive economic model, and third is the constitutionalization of all social missions," he said.

In fourth place, he said, is the issue of security, "to end impunity and structural transformation, the transformation of the legal and institutional system," while in fifth is "the assurance of sovereignty and its territorial integration."

Maduro announced the vote on the Constituent Assembly on May 1 in an effort to defuse the crisis that the country has been facing for two months amid opposition protests, several of which have turned violent, leaving 61 dead.

Pro-government groups have responded by mobilizing to support the Maduro government and to reject foreign "interference" in the country's affairs.

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