Venezuela sets presidential election for July 28 as opposition candidate remains blocked


CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) — Officials in Venezuela announced Tuesday that the country’s highly anticipated presidential election will take place July 28, but the leading opposition candidate remains barred from the ballot.

President Nicolás Maduro is widely expected to run for reelection, and his government initially negotiated details of the election with a faction of the opposition, but differences between the sides have deepened over the past two months.

The date announced by National Electoral Council President Elvis Amoroso did, however, meet at least one opposition demand that the election be held in the second half of the year to give time for campaigns to mobilize and electoral officials to update voter rolls.

But the election plans have yet to make any provision for candidates banned by the government from running for office, including Maduro’s strongest adversary this year, Maria Corina Machado.

Machado won an independently run primary held last year by the opposition faction known as the Unitary Platform, which is backed by the United States. She won more than 90% of the vote, with more than 2 million voters turning out for the primary including in strongholds of Maduro’s ruling party.

Amoroso, who heads a council that is loyal to the government, announced the election date four days after lawmakers proposed more than 20 possible dates, ranging from as soon as mid-April to as late as December.

Amoroso said campaigning will be allowed from July 4 through 25.

The Unitary Platform and Maduro’s government agreed in October during talks in Barbados that the election should be held in the second half of the year while not specifying which month. Last month, however, the opposition group’s chief negotiator started pushing for a December vote.

Machado’s campaign declined to comment on the election date, saying that she was “on tour today in the Venezuelan Andes.”

Amoroso, under his previous capacity as the country’s comptroller, signed Machado’s ban from office last summer. He did not address her candidacy during Tuesday’s announcement.

Source: post

No posts to display