17:34 GMT +325 September 2018
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    Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro

    Venezuela Starts Validating Signatures on Petition Calling to Oust Maduro

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    Venezuelan authorities have started validating signatures on a petition calling to hold a national referendum on ousting President Nicolas Maduro, after almost two million people endorsed the move, the BBC reported.

    MOSCOW (Sputnik) — According to Venezuelan opposition leader Henrique Capriles, over 70,000 people had their signatures validated on Monday, the BBC broadcaster reported.

    "What we saw today were queues across the country. That's a warning for Maduro," Capriles reportedly said.

    The benchmark number of validated signatures needed for the authorities to launch a public referendum on the issue stands at 200,000, according to the media.

    The signatories of the online petition have until Friday to bring their identity cards and have their fingerprints checked in posts set up by the national electoral authorities, the media outlet reported.

    Public support for the president has dropped to record lows after falling oil prices strained oil-rich Venezuela’s budget, sparking high inflation and product shortages.

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    Henrique Capriles, Nicolas Maduro, Venezuela
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