Venezuelan Foreign Minister Condemns Unilateral Sanctions by EU

Venezuelan Foreign Minister Condemns Unilateral Sanctions by EU

The National Constituent Assembly of Venezuela, consisting only of officers, has approved on Tuesday a decree that states that presidential elections scheduled for this year will be held before 30 April.

The European Union on Monday announced new sanctions on seven senior Venezuelan officials, saying this was an expression of the bloc's concern with the political crisis under President Nicolas Maduro.

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.

The most prominent official on the European list is Diosdado Cabello, the head of Venezuela's ruling socialist party who is considered to be the nation's second most powerful leader.

Asked if it would be good for Venezuela if Maduro ran again, as he has expressed a willingness to do, Nauert told reporters: "That is news to me".

Venezuela has for several years struggled with shortages of basic items, including food staples and medication.

But political analysts also say Maduro may not have to resort to fraud because his opposition right now is so fractured and dysfunctional - which may be why he is calling an election now.

"We demand that presidential elections be held with adequate lead time", the so-called Lima Group said in a joint statement, adding that all political actors and independent global observers must be allowed to take part. If an April election is indeed transparent, polls have indicated left-wing President Nicolás Maduro would lose decisively.

As a result, much of the opposition may well boycott an April election.

With the presidential election now only weeks away and numerous most popular opposition leaders either imprisoned, barred from running for office or in exile, the opposition will most likely struggle to find a candidate who can present even the slightest challenge to Mr.

The opposition has presented no evidence to support its fraud claims and the election results have been verified by worldwide observers as well as independent analyses by Torino Capital and Venezuelanalysis.

At the time, Almagro was a harsh critic of opposition parties' decision to participate in October 15 regional elections, which they lost by a landslide and subsequently decried as fraudulent.

Geoff Ramsey, a Venezuela researcher at the Washington Office on Latin America, said that by holding the election sooner, the ruling party is gambling that its chances would only suffer along with the economy the longer it waited. The country has the world's largest proven oil reserves. He is on many people's lips as a 2018 presidential candidate, and he has done well in at least one public opinion poll.

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