March 15, 2004

The wires

Venezuelan Election Court Rules Signatures Valid
March 15 (Bloomberg) -- Venezuela's Supreme Court's Electoral Chamber ruled that disputed signatures seeking a recall for President Hugo Chavez are valid, giving a boost to opposition efforts to oust the former paratrooper. The government said it would appeal.

Associated Press:
Venezuela Court OKs Recall Signatures
CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) - Venezuela's Supreme Court gave a major boost Monday to opponents of President Hugo Chavez, ruling that signatures on recall petitions need not be validated.
The high court overturned a decision by the National Elections Council to force more than 870,000 citizens to confirm they signed the petitions seeking a vote to recall Chavez. The court ordered the council to accept those signatures as valid unless citizens come forward to say they had not signed a petition.

Top Venezuela Court Ruling Lifts Referendum Hopes
CARACAS, Venezuela (Reuters) - Venezuela's Supreme Court on Monday raised opposition hopes of securing a referendum against leftist President Hugo Chavez by overruling electoral authorities' objections to more than 800,000 pro-vote signatures.
Opposition leaders welcomed the ruling by the court's Electoral Chamber as opening the way for a recall vote this year on Chavez's rule. But the populist president's supporters immediately appealed to higher levels of the court against what they called a flawed decision.