The Americas

Time runs out for Venezuela to elect new president

  • Opposition lawmakers applaud during a session at the National Assembly in Caracas, Venezuela, Monday, Jan. 9, 2017. The clock ran out Monday on the opposition's effort to oust President Nicolas Maduro in a recall vote and Tuesday marks the start of the last two years of Maduro's term. (AP Photo/Fernando Llano)

    Opposition lawmakers applaud during a session at the National Assembly in Caracas, Venezuela, Monday, Jan. 9, 2017. The clock ran out Monday on the opposition's effort to oust President Nicolas Maduro in a recall vote and Tuesday marks the start of the last two years of Maduro's term. (AP Photo/Fernando Llano)  (The Associated Press)

  • Opposition lawmaker Luis Silva shows a sign to pro-government lawmakers that reads in Spanish "Maduro you're out!" during a session at the National Assembly in Caracas, Venezuela, Monday, Jan. 9, 2017. The clock ran out Monday on the opposition's effort to oust President Nicolas Maduro in a recall vote and Tuesday marks the start of the last two years of Maduro's term. (AP Photo/Fernando Llano)

    Opposition lawmaker Luis Silva shows a sign to pro-government lawmakers that reads in Spanish "Maduro you're out!" during a session at the National Assembly in Caracas, Venezuela, Monday, Jan. 9, 2017. The clock ran out Monday on the opposition's effort to oust President Nicolas Maduro in a recall vote and Tuesday marks the start of the last two years of Maduro's term. (AP Photo/Fernando Llano)  (The Associated Press)

  • Bolivarian National Guards walk out of the National Assembly to make a security perimeter around the building in Caracas, Venezuela, Monday, Jan. 9, 2017. The clock ran out Monday on the opposition's effort to oust President Nicolas Maduro in a recall vote and Tuesday marks the start of the last two years of Maduro's term. (AP Photo/Fernando Llano)

    Bolivarian National Guards walk out of the National Assembly to make a security perimeter around the building in Caracas, Venezuela, Monday, Jan. 9, 2017. The clock ran out Monday on the opposition's effort to oust President Nicolas Maduro in a recall vote and Tuesday marks the start of the last two years of Maduro's term. (AP Photo/Fernando Llano)  (The Associated Press)

The clock has run out on the Venezuelan opposition's effort to oust the ruling socialists in a recall vote.

The opposition spent 2016 calling for a referendum against President Nicolas Maduro. Courts and electoral officials friendly to the administration blocked that campaign at every turn.

A recall is still legally possible. But Tuesday marks the midpoint of Maduro's six-year term. The constitution says any successful recall vote after this date would have Maduro replaced by his hard-line vice president rather than prompting a new election an opponent might win.

The opposition-controlled congress is expected to restart a symbolic political trial of Maduro Monday.