Venezuelan elections officials have set a late October date for a recall drive against President Nicolas Maduro, a timeline that makes it unlikely there will be any presidential election that could bring the opposition to power.

National Elections Council President Tibisay Lucena said Tuesday that critics of the socialist administration will likely be authorized in late October to try to collect signatures from 20 percent of voters needed to force a recall.

Elections officials would then have 90 days to confirm the signatures and schedule any vote. That means the vote might happen in January or February.

Timing is crucial. A successful recall this year would trigger a presidential election which the opposition is likely to win. If it succeeds next year, the government's vice president would replace Maduro.