Venezuela’s government said Thursday that it was postponing the presidential election until May 20, allowing an extra month before the country’s snap vote but doing little to quell critics calling for a boycott. In addition to announcing the new date, the government said that it would allow international observers to participate and that members of regional councils would be chosen by Venezuelans going to the polls in May as well. President Nicolás Maduro is running for another six-year term after more than a year of crackdowns against opponents that have included jailing popular political rivals and using force to put down street protests.
Though several minor opposition parties said Thursday that they would participate in the election, the main coalition representing opposition groups has said it would boycott the vote. None of its parties had registered candidates for the presidential race, the deadline for which was extended to Friday afternoon.
“We’re not participating because there are no open elections, because they are not respecting the right to vote, the right to choose or the will of every Venezuelan,” said Juan Pablo Guanipa, a top politician in the Primero Justicia party, whose most popular leader, Henrique Capriles, has been barred from running.
The vote has also been rejected by election observers and international bodies, as well as the United States and many of Venezuela’s neighbors. Mr. Maduro was recently disinvited from the Summit of the Americas meeting of regional leaders by the host country, Peru, which said the election was taking place under unconstitutional circumstances.