Venezuela Calls for Early Elections
Venezuela’s Constituent Assembly has called for an early presidential election before the end of April.
During a nationally-televised rally, current President Nicolás Maduro announced his intentions to run for office again amidst a growing economic crisis, corruption and overall unrest throughout the country.
After the death of former President Hugo Chávez in 2013, Nicolás Maduro left his seat as Minister of Foreign Affairs and enthusiastically took the place of his mentor. Under Maduro’s rule, Venezuela has swiftly transformed into a country with the highest inflation rate in the world. Crime has also become widespread as seen by a recent wave of lootings.
However, despite President Maduro’s status as a rather unsuccessful and unpopular leader, he and his party, the United Socialist Party of Venezuela still hold onto the country’s power.
Consequently, in order to ensure Maduro’s reelection, the Constituent Assembly has called for an early presidential election.
The timing is extremely problematic due to the current state of Maduro’s opposition. Many leaders of other parties are currently in jail or have been exiled. According to an article published by The New York Times, “the opposition will most likely struggle to find a candidate who can present even the slightest challenge to Mr. Maduro.”
Henrique Capriles, a former presidential candidate, lost to Chávez in 2012 and to Maduro in 2013 and has since been banned from running for public office for 15 years. Capriles denies any wrongdoing, claiming the vague accusations about mismanaged public funds were “politically motivated.”
The upcoming presidential election also comes as a response to recent EU sanctions against Venezuelan officials.
According to Diosdado Cabello, one of the sanctioned officials and vice-president of the assembly: “If the world wants to apply sanctions, we will apply elections.”