Few Challengers in Sight, Venezuela Sets April 22 for Presidential Vote

Few Challengers in Sight, Venezuela Sets April 22 for Presidential Vote

Last year, the three biggest opposition parties boycotted local elections on grounds that they would not be fair. Members of Mr. Maduro’s United Socialist Party won in a landslide.

On Wednesday, the government said campaigning would be allowed only between April 2 and April 19, a window of less than three weeks.

Dimitris Pantoulas, a political analyst and electoral expert in Caracas, the capital, said the usual window for an election was four to six months, allowing international observers to participate.

While Mr. Pantoulas said Venezuela’s electoral commission had been considered fair in the past, its credibility crumbled last year when the software company that had installed voting systems said the results of the Constituent Assembly election had been tampered with.

Experts say the top challenger to Mr. Maduro is Henry Ramos Allup, the 74-year-old former leader of the National Assembly. His party, Democratic Action, is still qualified to run, but he has not said whether he will do so.

But Mr. Pantoulas said the opposition’s strength in past elections had been its ability to unite under a candidate of its choosing, which is impossible now with so many popular politicians barred or jailed.

“The real power is being able to choose your rival,” Mr. Pantoulas said of the government’s crackdown against opposition members.

Mr. Maduro had been under increasing international pressure to hold elections since protests last year in which more than 100 people died. The topic came up again on Tuesday, during Secretary of State Rex W. Tillerson’s visit with President Juan Manuel Santos of Colombia in Bogotá.

“Our only objective is to see Venezuela return to its Constitution, return its duly elected assembly, to hold free and fair elections,” Mr. Tillerson said.

Mr. Santos called Mr. Maduro a dictator. “Maduro would never accept free and transparent elections as he knows he would lose,” he said.

Source link

About The Author

Related posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *