CARACAS, Venezuela—Venezuela's national electoral council has scheduled a decisive phase in the referendum
process against embattled President Nicolá s Maduro with conditions that make it highly unlikely his opponents will
be able to change the government.
The opposition alliance will need to collect 20% of all voter signatures in each state over 24 hours split over three
days staring October 26, the electoral council's director, Emilio Rondon, told reporters Wednesday. Observers of the
country's politics have said that an insufficient number of polling booths and the timing, which was widely expected,
make it very difficult to meet the goal.
The ruling-party dominated council, known as CNE, has approved only 5,392 voting centers for 19 million registered
voters. The polling booths will be particularly scarce in the remote states in the country's jungle and savanna regions.
Even if the opposition manages to collect 20% of the votes by state, CNE's internal timetable makes it almost
impossible to hold the actual referendum this year.
If the vote is held next year and Mr. Maduro loses, which recent polls predict, a vice president of his choosing would
serve out his term ending in 2019, likely ensuring the continuation of price and currency controls that economists blame
for the country's economic collapse. If it is held this year and Mr. Maduro loses, the electoral council would call new
elections, which polls show would result in a landslide opposition victory.
Write to Anatoly Kurmanaev at Anatoly.email@example.com
(END) Dow Jones Newswires
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