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Venezuela's snap presidential vote criticized as 'unfair' to opposition
10 February 2018, 01:52 | Darnell Patrick
Venezuela presidential vote set for April 22
Incumbent President Nicolas Maduro will be standing, while some top opposition challengers have been banned from running.
The opposition refused to sign off on a deal, leading to the government unilaterally setting the date for April 22 on Wednesday.
Two opposition leaders, Henry Ramos and Henri Falcon, have also announced presidential aspirations, but both are divisive figures: Ramos is seen as too old-school by many, while Falcon recently lost a re-election bid for governor of Lara state.
Opposition leader Julio Borges said the coalition would meet Thursday afternoon.
The date for the elections was announced hours after the failure of the negotiations held by representations of the Government and the opposition coalition in the Dominican Republic, with the facilitation of an worldwide group made up of Mexico, Chile, Bolivia, Nicaragua and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines. He highlighted the recent achievements of the Venezuelan Government in the elections for the Constituent Assembly and the municipal and regional elections, as well as its policy of dialogue with the opposition, with foreign observers. He's distancing himself from former President Hugo Chavez, who died in 2013.
"Victory is ours!" said Maduro in the televised broadcast, during which he danced and embraced supporters. The opposition accuses President Nicolas Maduro of using to plan a second term for himself.
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Opposition activists say Maduro's focus on campaign aesthetics show he is an uncaring tyrant vying to amass power even if it risks pushing Venezuela into a full-blown humanitarian crisis.
Mr. Maduro's government, however, has said it is prepared to withstand sanctions from the "imperialist" Trump administration.
The 2018 elections were originally scheduled to take place in December, but the ruling socialist party is eager to hold the elections as soon as possible, sensing its current advantage over a divided and weak opposition.
After Venezuela's decision on snap presidential polls, Peru announced it would convene a meeting of the Lima Group of Latin American nations to assess the situation in Venezuela.
The government has received warnings from several countries, including the United States and Colombia, that they will not recognize the results of the elections, maintaining that they will not be transparent or fair.
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