Venezuela will hold legislative elections on 6 December, election officials announced on Monday after months of mounting pressure from local opposition groups and international observers. The South American country’s laws mandate that national assembly balloting be held this year, but elections officials had delayed setting a date, raising concerns the contest would be cancelled. In her announcement, the elections council head, Tibisay Lucena, said the organisation had always intended to set a date and was not reacting to public pressure.
“These attacks and phony analyses from national experts and international figures have mostly been very ignorant,” she said.
The date is timed to commemorate the first election of the late President Hugo Chávez, who launched the country’s socialist revolution when voters chose him overwhelmingly on 6 December 1998.
The ruling socialist party currently holds a majority in the legislature, but polls indicate that if the election were held today, the opposition coalition would win in a landslide. The 29-party coalition is benefiting from widespread discontent with President Nicolás Maduro, driven by mounting shortages, high inflation and rampant crime.