A person casts his vote during the simulation of the July 30 election for the National Constituent Assembly (ANC) in Caracas, Venezuela, on July 16, 2017. Venezuela saw its feuding political factions both prepare polls on Sunday, with the government holding a simulation of the July 30 vote to elect the ANC while the opposition was organizing an unofficial referendum of its own to gauge public support or rejection for the ANC. (Xinhua/Boris Vergara)
CARACAS, July 16 (Xinhua) — Venezuela saw its feuding political factions both prepare polls on Sunday, with the government holding a simulation of the July 30 vote to elect the National Constituent Assembly (ANC) while the opposition was organizing an unofficial referendum of its own to gauge public support or rejection for the ANC.
According to a report by the National Electoral Council (CNE) on Sunday, the simulation was seeing “high participation”, with CNE executive Sandra Oblitas saying that the event was taking place normally in Caracas.
“This is an opportunity to become familiarized with the particularities of the…vote for the ANC, where we are seeing very high participation and no irregularities,” she indicated to the press.
Another CNE official, Socorro Hernandez, mentioned that the voting action is very quick and that international observers would be welcomed to supervise the July 30 ballot.
Representatives from the Union of South American Nations (Unasur) are expected to be on hand.
The simulation on Sunday was supervised by the Venezuelan military, who are in charge of ensuring there are no acts of violence at all elections.
However, this vote comes at a time of high tension in Venezuela, with anti-government protests by the opposition, Democratic Unity Roundtable (MUD), having led to at least 94 dead since early April.
The MUD sees the ANC, which will rewrite the Constitution, as a power grab by President Nicolas Maduro.
It is holding an unofficial referendum on Sunday to give the Venezuelan people a chance to be heard about the ANC, since Maduro called it without any warning.
According to the MUD, people can turn out at over 2,000 voting stations, without the supervision of the CNE, which dismissed the referendum as illegal.
Carlos Ocariz, mayor of the town of Sucre, wrote on Twitter that Venezuelan communities abroad, in countries such as Australia and Spain, were also taking part.
The referendum asks three questions of the Venezuelan people, whether they support or not Maduro’s call for the ANC, whether they support the Constitution of 1999, which Maduro is seeking to change, and whether officials in public office should be replaced.
The organizers that 47,272 voting officials and over 80,000 volunteers have been deployed to ensure the results are confirmed rapidly, while the participation rolls will be destroyed in order to avoid manipulations.