Venezuela official suggests presidential vote by end of April

Michele Moreno
January 24, 2018

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 previous year following a deadly protest movement seeking the president's removal.

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro looked sure to stand for re-election in a presidential vote due by the end of April where the ruling Socialists hope to trump a squabbling opposition despite an economic crisis and foreign sanctions.

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

Vice President Tareck El Aissami told a party rally late previous year that Maduro would seek a second term.

The United States, Canada, and the European Union have all taken measures against Venezuela's government over rights and corruption allegations, hurting the government's image and spooking banks from working with Caracas.

"If the world wants to apply sanctions, we will apply elections", said a defiant Diosdado Cabello, one of the sanctioned officials and vice-president of the assembly, a pro-Maduro body that has assumed extraordinary powers to run the country.

Maduro announced on December 10, 2017 that the country's main opposition parties would be banned from taking part in the elections. "Certainly the people would have to decide".

One of first opposition leaders to react has been precisely former presidential candidate Henrique Capriles, who has claimed "unity more than ever" to "restore democracy". 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. The group also called on Venezuela to release political prisoners. The opposition plans to hold primaries to choose a candidate, but the hasty presidential vote may make that tricky.

"The majority of Venezuelans loathe his government and his circle".

"Despite the obstacles to the opposition right now, it's to their advantage to get behind a single candidate and encourage people to vote, even though the deck is stacked against them", he said.

Other reports by Insurance News

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