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Venezuelan court rejects opposition tactic to oust president Maduro

The country's Supreme Court has blocked a move that would have shortened Nicolas Maduro's presidency. The opposition is pushing hard to oust the controversial socialist leader.

Venezuela's top court ruled on Monday that while an amendment to shorten the country's six-year presidential term was viable, it couldn't be implemented retroactively.

The court released its decision even before the amendment had been formally proposed, stymying the opposition's latest attempt to oust Maduro (pictured).

In its ruling, the court said that "trying to use a constitutional amendment to cut short immediately a term of office of someone popularly elected, such as the president of the republic, is an act of fraud against the constitution."

Calls for protest

The opposition coalition, which won control over the legislature last year, has faced several hurdles in its efforts to end the presidency of the late socialist leader Hugo Chavez's successor, despite his plummeting popularity in the face of a severe economic crisis.

Maduro's opponents are also pushing for a public referendum that would enable Maduro to be recalled. However, the government has been slow to act on the referendum, prompting the opposition to announce a march to the election board later this week to demand the paperwork necessary to kickstart the process.

If Maduro were to be recalled following the referendum, there would be a new presidential election this year, which the opposition is hoping would be its chance to take over the government.

blc/jr (Reuters, AFP)

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