Venezuela calls for early presidential elections in April

By Daniel Uria  |  Jan. 23, 2018 at 11:06 PM
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Jan. 23 (UPI) -- Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro will seek a second term, as the country's National Constituent Assembly approved early presidential elections Tuesday.

Diosdado Cabello, vice president of the pro-Maduro ANC, said the country will hold presidential elections before April 30.

"For the month of April, new presidential elections will be held in Venezuela," he said.

Shortly after the announcement Maduro said he would accept a nomination for re-election from his United Socialist Party.

"I am a humble worker, a man of the people, if the Socialist Party, if the forces of the Great Patriotic Pole, if the working class, women, youth, believe that I should be the presidential candidate of the Fatherland, I am at their orders," he said.

The decision to hold early elections comes after the European Union endorsed sanctions against Venezuela on Monday including a travel ban and asset freeze as well as previous sanctions from the United States.

Cabello told assembly members the early election would demonstrate a commitment to democracy.

"If they attack us, it's because we're on the right path," he said. "The world wants to apply sanctions; we want elections."

Maduro blocked the country's main opposition parties from running in the presidential elections after they boycotted mayoral elections in December.

His ruling United Socialist Party won more than 300 of the 335 mayoral offices amid a boycott by three of the four major opposition parties: Justice First, Popular Will and Democratic Action.

Maduro holds a 31 percent approval rating amid soaring inflation, and shortages of food and medicine in the country.

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