Venezuela postpones presidential election to late May

File photo of Venezuela President Nicolas Maduro. Photograph:( Others )

Reuters Caracas, Capital District, Venezuela Mar 01, 2018, 06.03 PM (IST)

Venezuela's election board said on Thursday it was postponing an upcoming presidential vote from April 22 to the second half of May following an agreement between the government and some opposition parties.

Presidential elections in Venezuela are normally held at the end of the year, and critics had accused authorities of moving the vote forward to wrongfoot the opposition and benefit President Nicolas Maduro's re-election bid.

The leading opposition coalition is boycotting the poll, but one presidential hopeful, Henri Falcon, has already launched his candidacy.

Falcon, a 56-year-old former state governor, believes he can win by taking advantage of widespread dissatisfaction with the ruling socialists over Venezuela's dire economic crisis. 

But Maduro's two strongest opposition rivals are both barred from standing.

The United States is also considering imposing sanctions against Maduro's government due to what it says are unfair conditions for the presidential vote.