Venezuela Calls Early Election, Maduro Ready to Run Again

Venezuela Calls Early Election, Maduro Ready to Run AgainVenezuela Calls Early Election, Maduro Ready to Run Again

Venezuela will hold a presidential election by the end of April, the ruling Constituent Assembly said Tuesday, pulling forward a vote in which President Nicolas Maduro hopes to triumph over a divided opposition and win a second term.

The 55-year-old Maduro, a towering mustachioed former bus driver who was Hugo Chavez’s handpicked successor, said he is ready to run if he receives the party’s nomination, AFP reported.

“I am a humble worker, a humble man of the people,” he told reporters before taking the stage at a rally in Caracas.

“If the United Socialist Party of Venezuela... believes that I should be the presidential candidate... I’m at your service.”

It is the closest that Maduro—who assumed power in April 2013 after Chavez died in office from cancer—has come to declaring his candidacy outright.

He has yet to formally be nominated by his party, but it seems a foregone conclusion.

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. We have only one candidate to continue with the revolution,” he said, as delegates chanted “Nicolas, Nicolas.”

Vice President Tareck El Aissami told a party rally late last year that Maduro would seek a second term.

The polls had been scheduled to be held by the end of the year, but analysts had predicted Maduro would seek an early election to seize the advantage over his opponents as they reel from a string of recent defeats.

“It’s completely logical for the government to advance the election, first because it faces a very complicated year economically, and second it’s trying to catch the opposition at a time of much disruption,” said analyst Benigno Alarcon.


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