The Chavismo decides to hold presidential elections before 30 April

Jan 24, 2018, 11:30
The Chavismo decides to hold presidential elections before 30 April

Maduro said it would be up to the ruling socialist party to nominate a candidate but that he would throw his hat in the ring should he garner the backing of the revolution. While elections can be held any time before then, voting typically is held in the final three months of the year to avoid an extended transition.

Cabello said the National Electoral Council (CNE) would set an exact date for the elections, which he said would be "before April 30".

He accused the government of usurping the people's legitimate power with the creation of the Constituent Assembly which effectively bypassed the National Assembly.

Although polls show Venezuelans overwhelmingly blame Maduro for widespread food shortages and triple-digit inflation that has pulverized wages, the opposition was left rudderless as several prominent politicians were barred from office or forced into exile past year following a deadly protest movement seeking the president's removal.

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Maduro's ruling Socialist Party is rushing to hold the vote as soon as possible to take advantage of disarray in the ranks of the political opposition, which has struggled.

"The government and its leaders annoy the majority of Venezuelans", he tweeted, urging the opposition to "unite to save democracy".

Maduro, a former bus driver and foreign minister under the former president Hugo Chavez cabinet, took over in 2013 after Chavez died battling cancer.

Top party official Diosdado Cabello confirmed to the Assembly that Maduro would be the party's sole candidate.

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It is unclear who from the fragmented opposition will stand against Maduro.

Cabello said the decision to bring forward the elections was a response to the United States and the European Union for imposing sanctions on Venezuela, which he said had the sole objective of "seeking a change of government".

"If the world wants to apply sanctions, we will apply elections. If our people are allowed to decide, they are out".

The announcement could also derail talks between the government and the opposition in the Dominican Republic, although chances of a breakthrough were always slim.

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With cynicism toward all politicians running high among Venezuelans, many are clamouring for a nontraditional, outside candidate, Reuters reports.

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