Venezuelan opposition set to pressure gov't following referendum victory

    17 de julio de 2017

    Caracas, Jul 17 (efe-epa).- The speaker of Venezuela's legislative National Assembly, opposition member Julio Borges, said Monday that following the results of the referendum held Sunday against a Constituent Assembly to redesign the nation's constitution, the Nicolas Maduro government must now be put under pressure to accept the will of the people.

    "Now comes the phase of applying pressure, of escalation, of making a reality of what the people asked for yesterday...the world and Miraflores must listen when an entire country cries out," the lawmaker said in an interview on private radio station Exito.

    The opposition attracted Sunday the participation of 7,186,170 Venezuelans in a referendum mounted by political parties and citizens without the participation or backing of the National Electoral Council (CNE).

    The referendum asked Venezuelans 1.) if they reject the changes to the constitution being promoted by the president, 2.) if they demand that the armed forces protect the 1999 constitution and support the legislature, and 3.) if they want the formation of a national unity government, new elections, and the installation of a transition government.

    At least 98 percent of participants voted in favor of all three questions, which is interpreted by the opposition as a clear victory.

    "What happened yesterday is truly comforting; once again we have seen that no one is going to suppress our people and no one is going to break their will," the speaker of Venezuela's National Assembly, a promoter of the referendum, said.

    Now the opposition must "activate the mandate given it by the people, so there will never be a Constituent Assembly imposed by a minority, and there will be elections and a change of government," Borges said.

    The election of members of the Constituent Assembly called by President Nicolas Maduro will be held next July 30.