Published: Sat, February 10, 2018
Global News | By Stacy Ballard

Venezuela's snap presidential vote criticized as 'unfair' to opposition

Venezuela's snap presidential vote criticized as 'unfair' to opposition

"Given the decision of Venezuelan electoral authorities to call a snap election for April 22, which does not warrant a fair, free, transparent and democratic process, the Peruvian government has invited Lima Group member countries to meet this Tuesday, February 13, in the Peruvian capital, to evaluate measures to respond to the Venezuelan political situation", it said.

Venezuela scheduled a presidential election for April 22 after mediation talks between the leftist government and an opposition coalition collapsed on Wednesday, Reuters reports.

Venezuela's opposition was to huddle on Thursday and debate whether to participate in a controversial April presidential vote despite the barring of its best two candidates and an electoral board favoring President Nicolas Maduro.

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"Victory is ours!" said Maduro in the televised broadcast, during which he danced and embraced supporters.

After surviving months of massive street protests past year, Maduro has consolidated his power by creating a new legislative superbody and sidelining opposition parties.

Opponents say the government is rigging the election in advance by barring Maduro's strongest rivals - opposition politicians Leopoldo Lopez and Henrique Capriles - and failing to reform a company.

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He and his allies have exited the Chavez-era party known as Venezuela's United Socialist Party (PSUV) to create a new movement called We Are Venezuela.

"The people have decided already: Nicolas Maduro is president of the republic for the 2019-2025 period", said the 55-year-old former bus driver and union leader.

Opposition leaders said the early date will benefit incumbent President Nicolás Maduro - who is the only candidate so far. And the Venezuelan opposition is divided into several different factions.

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That same day, Dominican Republic President Danilo Medina, who was brokering the talks, announced that dialogue between the government and the right-wing opposition had entered a stage of indefinite recess after the opposition refused to sign a draft agreement aimed at promoting peace and unity between the two parties.

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