Its final: there is no recall in 2016
During the afternoon of August 9th, Tibisay Lucena, maximum authority of the National Electoral Council (NEC), announced the continuity of the corresponding steps for the realization of a recall referendum against the mandate of President Nicolas Maduro requested by the MUD. In addition, she announced, without openly declaring it, which in technical terms is a catastrophe for the Venezuelan rightwing: that a recall in 2016 is impossible.
"If the requirements are met", the referendum would take place in 2017, which would imply the activation of the constitutional mechanism that foresees in such case if the President is revoked after January 10, 2017, the Vice President would assume the remainder of the term.
The President of the NEC said that if they meet all the requirements set out in the norms, the recollection of 20% of the signatures would take place at the end of October. These requirements and time periods are clearly delineated in resolution N ° 070906-2770, known as "Rules to regulate the procedure for the promotion and application of Recall Referendums of Mandated Terms of Popular Election (06-09-2007)".
We will explain in detail the great political problem of the time periods that fall on the MUD, like the Sword of Damocles.
What immediate steps and requirements come next?
In accordance with resolution N ° 070906-2770, which governs the process of Recall Referendum, once the MUD presents the solicitation for the recollection of 20% of the signatures, basically, two phases must be fullfilled. First of all, the examination of the application form to enable the collection of will (signatures) process corresponding to 20% of the Electoral Registry, and secondly define the centers in which the 20% will be collected.
The MUD has already complied with the corresponding action making there solicitation, this was served and received by the NEC. We are at that moment in the process today August 9th.
What comes next after today is the activation of article 21 of the norm, where the Committee on Political Participation and Financing, within a period of fifteen (15) consecutive days following the issuance of the consistency of presentation, will review the notice of participation and its annexes, and shall verify whether the application meets the requirements laid down in article 10 of the resolution governing the matter.
Then a report will be submitted for its approval by the NEC, recommending as admissible or inadmissible the participation of initiation of the proceedings.
Why Tibisay Lucena said that "late October" without giving exact date?
First of all, the activation of article 21 of the norms, in order words, determines if the MUD meets with the prerogatives in accordance with article 10 of the same. If this step is not completed, the exact date of the next step can not be announce. Basically, estimating that the collection of 20% of the signatures are at the "end of October" Lucena assumes that the MUD will comply with what is stipulated in article 10.
But Lucena does not give a exact date, since she points out that there is another set of internal processes which determine the development of the schedule and selection of centers for the reception and recollection of signatures. "There are a number of activities that are internal, which are guarantee that processes can lead to a successful conclusion," she said.
She is referring to what is stipulated in article 24 of the norms, which state; "within the following fifteen (15) business days the National Electoral Directive Board will propose to the National Electoral Council, the reception centers of the manifestations of will (signatures), taking into consideration geographical and electoral population variants".
Completed those moments, the NEC will make a decision on the continuity provenance of the Recall Referendum process, this must be declared in a span of three business days "between the 14 and the 16 of September", date announced by Lucena.
In other words, fullfilling the norms of 15 business days (article 21) and another 15 business days (from article 24), altogether giving a total of 35 days from today, the norms would be meet on September 13th.
Only after the origin of the recall continuity is determined, is when a date can be given for the collection of 20% of the signatures. Then and there will we know the exact date of the collection of the 20%. However Lucena - in an unusual action in comparison to her style- to silence the disinformation, uncertainty and rampant ignorance of the norms that the MUD promotes, gives a estimated date as "end of October".
And what happens after the signatures?
This is the part where the time of Dios is not perfect. This is when time falls like a guillotine on the MUD, which untimely initiated the recall procedures, where dates, legal and administrative lapses are consumed by the end of the year.
The signatures, refered to in the norms, as the process of " manifestations of will reception", would be carried out as the resolution states in article 26 in a span of three continuous days,. This would take place, according to our calculations, which concur with Lucena’s estimation, from October 26th to the 28th.
Then comes the process of quantification and verification of the signatures, as it appears designated in the article 28, which states: "in a term no greater than fifteen (15) business days starting from the recollection of all the acts recieved in the process of manifestations of will reception, the National Electoral Directory Board will verify and quantify such manifestations". This process would end more or less between November 21st to the 23rd.
Next, article 29 is activated; "If quantification is performed, and the number of manifestations of will is equal or greater to twenty percent (20%) of enrolled voters in the Electoral Registry of all determined constituencies, which is demanded to proceed with the recall referendum, the Electoral National Council will declare appropriet the request for recall referendum and will be realized within three (3) days of the convocation". "On the contrary, if the referred percentage is not fulfilled, the National Electoral Council will declare as dismissed the request for a recall referendum".
In other words, with the collection of signatures and the verification process completed, the recall would take place more or less by November 28th or 29th.
Article 30 states; “The recall referendum would take place in a period no superior to ninety (90) continuous days following the date of it’s convening”.
Expressed in another maner, understanding that it would take at least a month of necessary campaign prior to the electoral act, a referendum in 2016 is impossible. Beginning the count from the end of November, a period of 90 consecutive days (3 months), complied with all the previous stages, there are no legal acts, disputes or legal remedies (protection, remedy of nullity, etc.), the referendum would take place by the end of February. Precisely during the Carnival celebrations and fun on the beach.
An extra bonus in this tale of adeca misfortune
We already explained in Mission Verdad part of the disaster that ensues on the MUD. Chúo Torrealba recently told CNN in Spanish that the recall was possible "the last week of December", in other words, in the middle of the caotic holiday hangover. Although he tries to make credible the 2016 recall rip-off, Chuo recognized, as he rarely does, that the norms which regulate the process of recall referendums have time periods and lapses.
In other words the recall and date do not depend on arbitrary actions of Tibisay Lucena. Chuo knows that norms with defined intervals exsist. It also coincides with opposition electoral analysts who say that the recall would be possible on January 7th, only hours from January 10th. This is the tragic portrait of time and openly declared despair.
A recall during the peak of Carnival 2017 to try and take Chavismo out of power, would make no sense. In fact, it would be a organized plebiscite by the right wing to choose a Vice-President to finish the rest of the term in the case that Maduro is revoked. Which Chavista would the opposition like to choose? Aristobulo? Cilia? Diosdado?
It weighs heavy on the MUD to convene 25% of the electorates to legitimize the electoral act, in additional to this, attempt to overcome the 7 million 500 thousand votes that gave the Presidency to Nicolas Maduro.
Even if the option of the MUD wins with 99% of the votes, if they do not exceed this figure, President Maduro is not revoked. It is worth saying that the maximum electoral ceiling of the MUD consummated on December 6, 2015 is 7 million 800 thousand votes.
If only 400 thousand December 6th voters stay at home not willing to put the Vice President in the Presidency, Maduro is not revoked. Seems obvious, but it must be said; Maduro will be President untill January 10, 2019.