Thousands of Venezuelans took the streets of each state’s capital on Wednesday, October 26, to protest against Maduro’s regime after it canceled the recall referendum that would oust him from the presidency.

A march bound to the house of the government, the Miraflores Palace, will take place on Thursday, November 63 Henry Ramos Allup, the president of the National Assembly, explained to protesters that a declaration of the president’s political responsibility will be held, where Maduro will be ruled to answer for directing the National Electoral Council to cancel the recall referendum that would be held against him.

Venezuela protest
A demonstrator holds a Venezuelan flag while members of the Bolivarian National Police watch protesters in the area. Image credit: EFE/Miguel Gutiérrez.

Venezuela’s important democratic confrontation

The recall referendum was the opposition’s choice to oust Maduro from the presidency, as it consists of a democratic mechanism where people have the decision to sign for the removal of any person from public office, including the president.

Regional courts in Venezuela, which are illegally allied with the Maduro’s Regime, decided in unison that the signatures submitted to the National Electoral Council on the first stage of the referendum were forgeries.

Venezuela protests
General view of the opposition march held in Caracas, Venezuela on October 26, 2016. Image credit: EFE/Miguel Gutiérrez.

The presidential recall referendum was supposed to have at least three phases before taking place. According to the opposition, these phases were arbitrarily set by the National Electoral Council, but even with the obstacles set at a disadvantage, the opposition decided to follow the democratic process.

The first stage of the referendum had 1 percent of Venezuela’s voters provide their signature. The National Electoral Council already approved that 1 percent, which was surpassed with ease by the opposition’s voters, seeing that Venezuela is in a deep economic and social crisis where food is scarce, and inflation makes salaries worthless with each passing day.

The first stage was quickly completed, even when the National Electoral Council forced many voters to re-validate their signatures and reportedly eliminated other voters from the system.

The second stage had the National Electoral Council ruling that the opposition had to collect 20 percent of all voters’ signatures. Now the obstacle was that the 20 percent had to account per each state. After protests of disgust and anti-constitutionalism, the opposition maintained its lead and prepared to follow through the second stage, which was set for today, October 26.

What sparked the protests

On Friday 21, the National Electoral Council announced that the referendum was halted because of the decision taken by state courts. This act displayed a clear merging of powers, where there is no autonomy between the executive, judiciary, and electoral powers, all of which are clearly allied to Maduro’s regime.

Last December, the opposition managed to win the majority of the National Assembly, allowing it to pass laws and have a voice in the government. A seat in the National Assembly symbolizes an electoral position, where the representatives account for the political desires of their voters.

Venezuela protests
A group of demonstrators in Caracas, Venezuela on October 26, 2016. Image credit: EFE/Cristian Hernández.

In the National Assembly, the opposition started to evaluate which method to use for removing Maduro from the presidency. The issue is that Maduro and the post-Chavismo also hold the other powers of the State. This includes the military and Venezuela’s Supreme Court of Justice, where the justices appear to follow each and every one of Maduro’s commands.

Representatives in the National Assembly can alter the whole structure of the government. Many constitutional mechanisms allow this, but seeing that the opposition representatives have to find a way to remove Maduro for good and without violence, they had to tread carefully.

The decision was to hold a recall referendum, something that even Chávez lived and managed to overcome in his time. But since the government decided to stop the referendum through an abuse of power, the opposition will now utilize every constitutional mechanism available at the right time for removing Maduro, although the same could be said for the government.

What’s to come for Venezuelan politics

Amid the protest, Ramos Allup announced that the assembly would hold the declaration of political responsibility for the president of the republic. The measure is expressed in the constitution, and it allows the National Assembly to interpellate any public position for failing on its duties.

Lawyers explained that the National Assembly must create a commission of lawmakers to investigate what is Maduro being accused of. Then a debate would be held, and the representatives would vote. Once the document is approved, it must be passed to the Moral Republican Council, which will then ratify the crimes and solicit a trial to the Supreme Court.

Venezuela protest
Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro at an event held on October 26, 2016.

The critical step is that the court must approve the trial and then the destitution of Maduro if it is ruled as rightfully based. But because Maduro holds a tight control over the Supreme Court’s justices, the opposition must launch a head-first political campaign to promote the change of government.

This is expected to reach its point of inflection on November 3 when the opposition will hold a massive march down to the house of government. The last time this occurred was in 2002 when the opposition managed to oust Chávez from power for two days until he was brought back by sectors of the military.