Venezuela legislature calls for early election in Maduro-friendly move

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"For the month of April, new presidential elections will be held in Venezuela", Cabello told the ANC.

While Cabello didn't explicitly endorse Maduro he praised him as the hand-picked successor of the late Hugo Chavez and said that the revolution would face no obstacles settling on a single candidate.

"President Barack Obama ... has personally chose to take on the task of defeating my government and intervening in Venezuela to control it", Maduro said in a televised address.

During a regularly scheduled session, lawmakers agreed to "undertake Venezuela's presidential election process in the first four months of 2018", said ANC member Diosdado Cabello, who presented the motion to the assembly.

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro looked sure to stand for re-election in a presidential vote due by the end of April where the ruling Socialists hope to trump a squabbling opposition despite an economic crisis and foreign sanctions.

Polls show Venezuelans that overwhelmingly blame Maduro for widespread food shortages and triple-digit inflation. After leading street protests that turned violent and demonstrated the level of popular discontent, the opposition quickly lost steam as Mr.

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"It's unacceptable that elections are held by a regime in the same way that they held the regional and municipal elections". The opposition alleged there weren't enough guarantees the vote would be free and fair, but the partial boycott highlighted tensions over how best to confront Maduro, whose decision to create the all-powerful constitutional assembly alongside the opposition-controlled National Assembly has been condemned by several foreign governments, including the USA and Canada.

As a result, much of the opposition may well boycott an April election. "Certainly the people would have to decide".

They point out that the election announcement itself was made by the new, pro-government national legislature Maduro created past year - which he did by simply outlawing the real, opposition-led legislature.

"Despite the obstacles to the opposition right now, it's to their advantage to get behind a single candidate and encourage people to vote, even though the deck is stacked against them", he said.

"Our delegation [to the dialogue] has precise instructions from me... to give full guarantees for the holding of presidential elections this year in 2018, full and complete guarantees", the head of state declared on the eve of the last round of talks on January 11. The country has the world's largest proven oil reserves.

"The politicians abandoned us", the masked student said.

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