Attendees react as Nicolas Maduro, Venezuela's president, center, speaks during a rally in Caracas on Feb. 7, 2018. Photographer: Carlos Becerra/Bloomberg. Venezuela's opposition coalition announced it will boycott this year's presidential ballot ...
Venezuela’s opposition coalition announced it will boycott this year’s presidential ballot, saying that in its current form the vote will be neither free nor fair.
The April 22 vote amounts to “only a fraudulent and illegal simulation of a presidential election,” Angel Oropeza, the alliance’s political coordinator, told reporters in Caracas. “We want to compete in elections -- we are democrats -- but in clean elections.”
Without the participation of the Democratic Unity Roundtable, or MUD as it’s known by its Spanish abbreviation, President Nicolas Maduro is set to sweep the election despite international outcry over his decision to hold a snap vote. The MUD announced it will launch a broad campaign demanding fair election.
For months the opposition has tried to negotiate more favorable terms with the government through a series of meetings in the
Dominican Republic, part of an international effort to remedy the country’s bitter political crisis. The MUD demanded the government set a date that provided ample time to appoint new electoral authorities and invite international observers. But as talks broke down the ruling socialists did exactly the opposite, bringing election day forward without heeding opposition’s demands.
Oropeza said the opposition will only participate once the government obeys the accords reached in Santo Domingo. “Without that, don’t count on the opposition or the Venezuelan people to support a fraud.”
It remains unclear if any opposition figures will launch an independent run. Polls show most Venezuelans support the vote and are apathetic about the current opposition field, which is lead by former governor Henri Falcon. Over 62 percent of the respondents in a
survey conducted last week by pollster Venebarometro said none of the names provided should be president.
While Venezuelans largely blame Maduro for quadruple-digit inflation, chronic food shortages and rampant crime, the opposition’s top contenders are currently barred from holding office.
— With assistance by Jose Orozco
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