Maduro names date for Venezuela election but may run without opposition

Frederick Owens
February 10, 2018

Opposition leaders said the early date will benefit incumbent President Nicolás Maduro - who is the only candidate so far. Incumbent President Nicolas Maduro will be standing, while some top opposition challengers have been banned from running.

Venezuela scheduled a presidential election for April 22 after mediation talks between the leftist government and an opposition coalition collapsed on Wednesday, Reuters reports.

On Jan. 26, Maduro had pledged to be "the president of Venezuelan youth and women" after announcing his candidacy for the forthcoming elections.

The head of the CNE, Tibisay Lucena, made the announcement that includes an election campaign between April 2nd and 19th and said that before March the electoral rolls will be known that will be used for the vote, which will include around 20 million voters.

Medina said Maduro had expressed "the desire to continue dialogue", but the opposition delegation "did not understand" that the signing of the final peace agreement would take place on Tuesday in front of worldwide observers.

Its umbrella coalition, the Democratic Unity Roundtable (MUD), tried to negotiate a later date in talks with government officials in the Dominican Republic.

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Earlier this week at the last minute, just as Maduro was signing his part of the accord, opposition parties choked and refused to sign.

"We implore the government not to commit the absurd mistake of calling elections unilaterally", tweeted opposition delegate Julio Borges.

The opposition is split on whether to put up candidates as they say the whole process is flawed.

The South American country, impoverished despite being a major oil producer, is suffering food and medicine shortages brought on by a recent period of low oil prices, declining production, and economic mismanagement. Maduro has turned Venezuela into a dictatorship and could spur further sanctions from the United States. Maduro, meanwhile, says opposition leaders are feckless right-wing elites who get their orders from Washington.

The government has received warnings from several countries, including the United States and Colombia, that they will not recognize the results of the elections, maintaining that they will not be transparent or fair.

Yesterday, Tillerson visited the Caribbean to discuss the aftermath of such a potential move.

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