Venezuela’s opposition-dominated congress on Tuesday said it will hold new elections as soon as possible within a year — once embattled President Nicolas Maduro is ousted from power. Meanwhile, Venezuela’s socialist party boss, Diosdado Cabello, threatened to hold early legislative elections that could gut the congress, which is the only branch of government controlled by the opposition. He accused the opposition of taking orders from the United States. “We won’t skip a beat,” Cabello said. “We have no doubt that the imperialism governs the Venezuelan right wing.” The struggle for power in Venezuela resurged this year when congress leader Juan Guaido declared himself interim president, saying Maduro’s re-election in May was fraudulent.
Tacitly acknowledging that it has no real power, the congress extended a 30-day constitutional timeline for replacing the president, saying it is critical to first fill other key branches, like the government-stacked elections commission.
Dozens of countries, including the United States and most of the European Union, have recognized Guaido as Venezuela’s interim president, arguing that Maduro’s re-election was invalid because his strongest opponents were barred from running.
Maduro, too, has international backing, while holding practical control over the crisis-wracked nation’s institutions, including the military.