Venezuela’s opposition had successfully completed the first step for recalling the referendum, the National Electoral Council (CNE) said on Monday.
As the opposition successfully collected 1 percent of voter signatures in every state, now they are demanding Lucena set a date for the collection of 20 percent - about 4 million signatures - needed next to trigger the actual referendum.
CNE President Tibisay Lucena declared that 24 states met the requirements needed to initiate the referendum against President Nicolas Maduro and can proceed to the next stage.
The decision comes despite objections from Jorge Rodriguez, head of the Socialist Party, PSUV, who declared there were too many irregularities to allow the process to proceed.
The government, however, has vowed there will be no referendum this year. It has launched nearly 9,000 lawsuits, alleging massive fraud in signature collection.
Right-wing leaders are pushing for the referendum to happen before the end of the year, which would mean that the country would be forced to hold snap elections.
If a recall referendum removes Maduro from office after he passes the four-year mark of his term in office on Jan. 10, 2017, then Vice President Aristobulo Isturiz will take over as president until the next scheduled election, meaning the opposition to have to wait until 2019.