Venezuela’s snap presidential vote criticized as ‘unfair’ to opposition

Latin America

The United States is one of several countries condemning Venezuela’s decision to hold a presidential election in April.

Some nations are refusing to recognize the outcome. Incumbent President Nicolas Maduro will be standing, while some top opposition challengers have been banned from running.

CGTN’s Juan Carlos Lamas spoke with Venezuelan’s concerned the vote will be unfair.

The president of Venezuela’s National Electoral Council announced the date of the presidential election after government and opposition parties failed to come to an agreement on how to conduct the election fairly.

Opposition leaders said the early date will benefit incumbent President Nicolás Maduro — who is the only candidate so far. Maduro is running under a new political party known as “Somos Venezuela,” or “We are Venezuela.” He’s distancing himself from former President Hugo Chavez, who died in 2013.

In the face of daily protests last year, the opposition demanded elections. But now its most popular leaders – including Leopoldo López, Henrique Capriles and Antonio Ledezma – have been imprisoned, forced into exile and banned from running for office. And the Venezuelan opposition is divided into several different factions.

During meetings with government delegates in the Dominican Republic, opposition leaders had been pushing for the election to be held in June – and for the electoral council to be staffed with neutral officials. But those meetings broke up with no agreement.

Opposition supporters said an April election does not give them time to rally around a unifying candidate, and they said the election will be neither free nor fair.

The opposition is considering running a unifying candidate or simply boycotting the elections. Meanwhile, inflation in Venezuela has gone from triple digits to quadruple digits, and most Venezuelans are spending their energy trying to find the means to live from one day to the next.