Venezuela's Maduro says ready to run for second term

25 January, 2018, 02:01 | Author: Chad Mckenzie
  • Venezuela's Maduro says ready to run for second term

If selected, he said, he would relish the opportunity to measure up against his opponents. "If it was in my hands, the election would be this weekend".

Today's decision was adopted as the political, social and economic situation in Venezuela continues to deteriorate, and as negotiations between the government and the opposition have not yet delivered concrete results. The opposition has been using those talks to push for guarantees that voting will be free and fair, with the participation of independent foreign monitors.

Declaring any country a threat to national security is the first step in starting a US sanctions program.

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

Venezuela's Maduro says ready to run for second term

"Venezuelan democracy is solid", he said.

Opposition leader and twice-presidential candidate Henrique Capriles told Reuters the sanctions were a problem for a corrupt elite in the Maduro government, but not ordinary Venezuelans.

Maduro and his top officials have faced worldwide rebuke for their recent consolidation of power, including the introduction of a Constituent Assembly last July, mostly made up of the president's supporters. The opposition achieved its most important triumph in December 2015, when it took control of National Assembly, a legislative body that Chavismo has disabled with creation of Constituent Assembly.

The finalized date for the election has yet to be announced, though government and opposition dialogue representatives are rumored to be looking at a date in the first half of 2018.

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At first glance, the election declaration is good news - since there was widespread doubt Venezuela's authoritarian regime would even allow a presidential vote this year. 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.

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.

Compounding the opposition's woes, several parties boycotted a recent election for mayors, leading the ruling socialist party to sweep the contest.

The U.S. Treasury Department has sanctioned 51 Venezuelan officials, including four current and former military officers, in an attempt to weaken Maduro's grip on power.

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Maduro was handpicked by his longtime predecessor Hugo Chavez, who ruled Venezuela from 1999 until 2013, and who died from cancer while in office. "They have to pick the right candidate, get organized, be strategic, and have witnesses at the voting centers", Corrales said.

The name of Lorenzo Mendoza, billionaire head of private food company Polar, is on many people's lips, and he has done well in at least one public opinion poll.

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