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  • Supporters of President Nicolas Maduro during a march in favor of the National Constituent Assembly in Caracas.

    Supporters of President Nicolas Maduro during a march in favor of the National Constituent Assembly in Caracas. | Photo: Reuters

Venezuelans have the right to vote in the Constituent Assembly and no one can forbid it, electoral chief Tibisay Lucena said.

Venezuelan National Electoral Council, CNE, President Tibisay Lucena on Wednesday rejected calls by the right-wing opposition to boycott National Constituent Assembly elections scheduled for July 30.

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Lucena said that despite the call for violent protests by the opposition, the electoral body will guarantee citizens their right to participate by providing security throughout the election. The CNE official said opposition supporters are allowed to be against the National Constituent Assembly, but can't impede other Venezuelans from voting.

"An electoral process can not be prevented, it's an attack to the very heart of democracy and human rights," Lucena said.

"I am sure that peace will prevail on July 30.”

Lucena mentioned that they will temporarily relocate voting centers that could be unsafe and represent threats to voters. She assured that voters will be safely relocated to other polling station by law enforcement officials if they are intimidated by opposition protesters.

"We will not allow any violent radicalism to hurt the opportunity to express ourselves as the peaceful and democratic people we are,” she added.

The CNE is slated to oversee an election simulation on July 16, the same day the opposition plans to hold its own non-binding, unrecognized plebiscite on the administration of President Nicolas Maduro.

Maduro criticized the announcement by the United States to apply sanctions to Venezuela if the process to begin the National Constituent Assembly continues. He said the democratic and constitutional call won't be stopped.

“Imperialism ... is threatening that if the National Constituent Assembly takes place, they are going to block Venezuela,” Maduro said. “Block Venezuela? Venezuela is not blocked by anyone, my friend,” he said.

“We will never give up.”

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