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Venezuela's Supreme Court ratifies rules for terminating Chávez' mandate

By Juan Francisco Alonso

El Universal (10.12.03) - The decision ratifies the National Electoral Council's rules governing recall votes in Venezuela, which establish that "any mandate shall be deemed terminated when the number of votes supporting such termination equals or exceeds the number of votes the official obtained when elected, and is not inferior to the number of voters rejecting the termination of the mandate”

Terminating the mandate of President Hugo Chávez requires that the number of people voting to end his administration exceed the number of people rejecting this move, according to a ruling dictated on Monday by the Constitutional Chamber of the Supreme Court of Justice (TSJ).

In addition, the number of people voting "yes" will have to exceed the number of votes President Chávez obtained when he has elected in 2000.

Therefore, the decision, whose reporting justice was José Delgado Ocando, ratifies the regulations issued by the National Electoral Council (CNE) under Article 60 of the rules governing recall votes in Venezuela, which establishes that "any mandate shall be deemed terminated when the number of votes supporting such termination equals or exceeds the number of votes the official obtained when elected, and is not inferior to the number of voters rejecting the termination of the mandate."

The decision responded to an appeal for the construction of Article 72 of the Venezuelan Constitution, and warned that in the event that such requirements are not met, President Chávez shall remain in office during the rest of the current 6-year presidential term.

If Chávez' stay in office is the most voted option, he is to remain in office, even though a number of votes sufficient to terminate his mandate (higher than the number of votes he obtained when elected in 2000) is cast, according to the sentence.

The Constitutional Chamber also determined who are the people entitled to vote in a presidential revoking referendum, saying that all voters duly recorded with the Electoral Register by the date the recall vote is to be held have the right to take part in a revoking referendum.

"Both voters willing to demonstrate their decision to revoke the mandate of a popularly elected official and voters wanting to show their will that said official remains in office have the right to participate in any referendum to be held under Article 72 of the Constitution, after compliance with the corresponding requirements thereto, as they both are equal under the law and have the constitutional right to express their support for either choice in a free and sovereign way."

jalonso@eluniversal.com

Translated by Maryflor Suárez

 



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