Venezuela: Maduro ready to stand in early presidential poll

(VENEZUELA, LANKAPUVATH) –Venezuela’s pro-government Constituent Assembly has ordered fresh elections before the end of April.

President Nicolas Maduro told thousands of his supporters at a rally that he is ready to seek another six-year term.

“It’s the right decision. Imperialism and the right were plotting to take over the economy,” said Mr Maduro.

The opposition is weakened and divided and many of the president’s main potential challengers are in self-imposed exile or in jail.

But former presidential candidate Henrique Capriles said the government was so unpopular that it could lose the vote.

“The government and its leaders annoy the majority of Venezuelans,” he tweeted, urging the opposition to “unite to save democracy”.

Mr Capriles cannot stand in the presidential vote as he was banned from public office for 15 years in April for mismanaging public funds as governor of Miranda state.

He denies any wrongdoing and says the charges were politically motivated.

Mr Maduro said the presidential poll would go ahead “with or without the opposition”.

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