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    OAS Member States Express Concern Over Suspended Referendum in Venezuela

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    Member countries of the Organization of American States reportedly expressed concern over a suspended petition for a referendum on President Nicolas Maduro resignation.

    MOSCOW (Sputnik) — Member countries of the Organization of American States expressed concern over a suspended petition for a referendum on President Nicolas Maduro resignation, media reported Sunday.

    "Only dictators deny their citizens their rights, ignore the legislature and have political prisoners, " OAS Secretary General Luis Almagro was quoted as saying by BBC news agency.

    On Tuesday, Venezuela's Supreme Court  announced its decision obliging the opposition to collect signatures in all 23 states of the country in order to initiate a recall referendum against President Nicolas Maduro. Two days later the election officials halted a petition due to alleged irregularities in signatures gathering process.

    The opposition seeks to conduct a recall referendum before January 10, 2017. If the referendum is carried out after this date, the current Vice President Jorge Arreaza will succeed Maduro and will hold the post for two years even if people vote against the country's leader. If the vote takes place before January 10, new presidential elections will occur according to the country's constitution.

    Venezuela has been in a state of an economic turmoil since January. The opposition blames Maduro's economic policies for the recession, high rate of inflation, shortages of food and other essential supplies in the country.

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