Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro said on Sunday he expected delayed state polls to be held this year, although opponents have demanded a broader general election to replace him in protests that have sparked 29 deaths. The postponed vote for governors of Venezuela’s 23 states – originally slated for 2016 – is one of a litany of opposition grievances against Maduro whom foes accuse of becoming a dictator and wrecking the economy. During his weekly TV program, “Sundays With Maduro,” the 54-year-old socialist leader said gubernatorial elections would happen later this year although the opposition’s real agenda was to topple him with a U.S.-backed coup.
“I am anxious for an electoral process to be called,” he told supporters on the live show, saying the election board, or CNE, first had to finish legalizing political parties.
“Then the CNE will fix the pending governor elections, for this year. … Venezuela’s problem is not that there won’t be elections this year. Venezuela’s problem is that an empire in extremists’ hands wants to take our oil and carry out a coup.”
The government party controls 20 states, but polls indicate the opposition would now win a majority of the states, given voter anger over the OPEC nation’s brutal recession.
The next presidential election is due for late 2018, but the opposition wants that brought forward to this year and bundled with legislative, state and mayoral elections.
Full Article: Venezuela’s Maduro sees local elections later in 2017 | Reuters.