Maduro ‘ready to rerun for office’ in April
Venezuela President Nicolas Maduro says he is ready to stand for re-election following a move by the government-allied Constituent Assembly to call for an early presidential election.
The National Constituent Assembly announced on Tuesday that a presidential election would be held by the end of April, describing the move as evidence of the country’s democratic credentials.
Maduro, who has been in office since 2013, said later in the day that he would run if he received the ruling Socialist Party’s nomination.
“I am a humble worker, a humble man of the people,” he told reporters on Tuesday. “If the United Socialist Party of Venezuela… believes that I should be the presidential candidate… I’m at your service.”
Top party official Diosdado Cabello confirmed to the Assembly that Maduro would be the party’s sole candidate.
“We are not going to have a problem,” Cabello said. “We have only one candidate to continue with the revolution.”
The assembly has now called on the National Electoral Council to finalize the date of the election. The poll, which had been initially scheduled to be held by the end of the year, was brought forward to demonstrate the administration’s commitment to democracy, according to government officials.
The Venezuelan opposition, which has constantly called for a new presidential election amid a political crisis in the country, now accuses Maduro of “merely dressing up authoritarianism in the guise of democracy.”
“A government that is a product of force or an electoral trap cannot survive at an international level,” Henry Ramos Allup, a prominent opposition leader and member of the opposition-controlled National Assembly, wrote on Twitter.
The opposition Democratic Unity Roundtable coalition has two primary contenders, Henrique Capriles Radonski and Henry Ramos Allup.
Capriles, a two-time presidential candidate, who lost to Maduro in the 2013 election, is banned from running for office, however.