(AP) — Venezuela's opposition-dominated congress declared President Nicolas Maduro had abandoned his post as the clock ran out Monday on the opposition's effort to oust the socialist leader in a recall vote.
The vote was symbolic since the National Assembly has no power to remove a president.
Critics of the deeply unpopular Maduro spent 2016 calling for a recall referendum that would lead to a new presidential election, buoyed by polls saying an overwhelming majority of the country supported the campaign as food shortages worsen and inflation runs in the triple digits. But judges and electoral officials friendly to the administration blocked the recall referendum at every turn.
A recall is still legally possible. But Tuesday marked the start of the last two years of Maduro's term, and Venezuela's constitution says any successful recall vote after this point would result only in Maduro being replaced by his hard-line vice president without any new election .... http://bigstory.ap.org