The Strategist

Venezuela changes the election date

01/25/2018 - 14:48

The presidential campaign de facto began in Venezuela: the incumbent head of state, Nicolas Maduro, announced plans to run for a second term. Elections will be held until April 30, although they were originally planned to be held at the end of the year. More than a dozen Latin American leaders have criticized the plans of the Venezuelan authorities, but they do not intend to listen to the neighbours’ opinion.

Eneas De Troya via flickr
Eneas De Troya via flickr
"I'm a modest hard worker, a representative of the people. If the United Socialist Party, the Patriotic Center (the alliance of parties and movements), the working class, women and young people consider that I should become a candidate for the presidency of our country, then ... I am at your disposal "- this way Nicolas Maduro announced his intention to run for the second presidential term. This happened shortly after the Constitutional Assembly of Venezuela (a constituent assembly consisting of 100% of Mr Maduro's supporters) decided to hold elections until April 30, although it was previously assumed that the vote would take place at the end of the year.

Officially ruling socialists will announce the presidential candidate on February 4 at their congress, the so-called Congress of the Motherland. But even now one can say that the incumbent president does not have inner-party competitors.

A survey of the Hinterlaces research center indicates that 72% of Venezuelans agree with the postponement of elections for February-March this year. At the same time, a number of Venezuela's neighbours did not pay attention to the approval of the early elections inside the country, condemning the decision of the Constitutional Assembly. The so-called Lima group, which includes 12 countries in Latin America that do not recognize the constituent assembly of Venezuela, said that such actions by Venezuelan authorities call into question the legitimacy of the vote. Among other things, the representatives of the group demanded that all politicians willing to participate in the elections be allowed to vote.

Such a requirement is connected with a possible ban on several opposition candidates to participate in the presidential race. In December 2017, the opposing parties "Justice Above All", "Democratic Action" and "People’s Will" did not participate in the municipal elections, after which Nicolas Maduro refused to allow their representatives into the presidential campaign. Because of the convictions, the most prominent representatives of the opposition - Leopoldo López and Henrique Capriles, who in the 2013 elections lost just 1.49% of the vote to Nicolas Maduro - will not be able to take part in the race. If the elections are held on declared conditions, then there can be no real candidates from the opposition to them. And this will immediately call into question the legitimacy of voting in the eyes of many Venezuelan neighbours.


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