Venezuelans vote in unofficial referendum

July 16 2017 -AFTER more than three months of protests, the opposition and government have decided to hold two electoral events on Sunday (today) in Venezuela.

The opposition’s vote seeks, through a popular consultation, to let people share opinions about the Constituent Assembly.

The second, organised by the government, is a rehearsal and aims to familiarise people with the constituent election due to take place on July 30.

“Through an executive decree, we as citizens are called to for a constituent process. The idea of the Constituent Assembly is that  500 Venezuelans will have the right to draft new laws and new articles, and then this new constitution will be voted,” Ricardo Leon, editor of El Silbon Information Agency, told Al Jazeera.

“The oligarchy is afraid of this because they can lose space of power and economic control,” he added.

Today, the opposition will ask voters if they support the government’s plan to elect a National Constituent Assembly that will overhaul the 1999 constitution.

However, the plebiscite does not have the support of the electoral power nor the government, which considers it illegal.

“I will vote today because we want to defend the constitution of 1999. It is important to restore constitutional order, and give space to the public powers to perform their functions, and in this way to exert pressure for presidential elections,” Venezuelan lawyer Vanessa Diaz told Al Jazeera.

The process seeks to show the rejection of Maduro, his government, and the role of the armed forces who are accused of repression.

But the government said it would ask the Supreme Court of Justice to nullify the the plebiscite as “unconstitutional, and illegal”. – Al Jazeera