In a setback to President Nicolas Maduro, the CNE announced it would not be able to organize all the elections on one day. The OAS and the US have criticized the vote, set to take place in April. The National Electoral Council (CNE) of Venezuela has ruled out the possibility of carrying out legislative, state and municipal elections, in conjunction with the scheduled presidential elections on April 22, as President Maduro had proposed. Tibisay Lucena, the president of the CNE, announced the decision on Friday, saying that the electoral authority would not be capable of preparing such a range of elections so soon. “We are now not prepared to make a presidential election coincide with other elections that are technically more complex,” Lucena said.
Nonetheless, the CNE president signaled that the parliamentary elections, which are slated for 2020, could take place sooner. “The CNE will evaluate the upcoming date of the parliamentary, legislative council and municipal elections,” she said.
The call to join these elections with the presidential contest of April 22 was heavily criticized by the opposition. The National Assembly, Venezuela’s opposition-controlled legislature, called Maduro’s plan an “attempted coup” and labeled it a “totalitarian intent” of the government to control “all public powers through a mega electoral simulation.”