Caracas: Venezuelan authorities on Tuesday reported irregularities in signatures handed over by the opposition Democratic Unity Roundtable (MUD) in a petition to hold a referendum to oust President Nicolas Maduro.
Of the 200,197 signatures that have been analysed, 21,560 were found incomplete, Tania D'Amelio, one of the directors of the country's National Electoral Council (CNE), said on Tuesday.
She therefore urged MUD leaders to "tell the truth...to maintain peace" in Venezuela.
In an interview with the private TV station Venevision, another CNE Director Socorro Elizabeth Hernandez said that the council is analysing the legitimacy of the MUD's petition.
"Following the norms that have been law since 2007, we are currently digitizing the signatures and scanning each one," Hernandez said.
The move aims to create a database which will determine if the MUD signatures have reached 1 percent of the electorate needed to launch a recall referendum.
"Once the database is complete, the signatures will be matched with people's fingerprints," Hernandez said.
She said elements such as the information about the entity to which a signature belongs and the first and last names of a person should be complete to ensure the petition is legal and valid.
"Certain information must be present. If this information is incorrect or incomplete, this invalidates a signature," said Hernandez.
The MUD said it has collected 1.8 million signatures on the petition, far more than needed for the vote to take place.
If these signatures are validated by the National Electoral Council, the opposition will then have three days to collect around 4 million signatures, or 20 percent of the electorate, to proceed with the referendum.