Mexico, 5 South American countries question Venezuela rules

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Mexico has joined five South American countries in expressing concern over the decision by electoral authorities in Venezuela to effectively delay a presidential recall vote until 2017.

The foreign ministers of Mexico, Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Peru and Paraguay signed an open letter saying the decision "affects the sense of holding the referendum."

Electoral officials said last week that while opponents of President Nicolas Maduro can try to trigger the recall by collecting signatures from 20 percent of voters, any vote would not be held until next year.

The ruling all but assured the socialists will remain in power until the next regularly scheduled presidential election in 2018.

If Maduro is not recalled before the midpoint of his term, he would be replaced by his vice president.