Venezuelan snap election won't be free and fair, US says

Washington - The United States on Wednesday rejected Venezuela's snap presidential election, saying it would be neither free nor fair and would only deepen tensions.
The State Department also said a snap election would not reflect the will of the Venezuelan people and would be seen as undemocratic and illegitimate in the eyes of the international community.

"We call on the [President Nicolas] Maduro regime to respect the human rights of all of its citizens, and to return to democratic constitutional order," State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said in a statement.
"A free, fair, transparent electoral process open to credible international observation is essential to the restoration of a democratic constitutional order in Venezuela," she said.
The Constituent Assembly called Tuesday for a presidential election to take place before April 30. The National Electoral Council still has to set the exact date. National polls had previously been expected to take place in December.
Maduro said later he is prepared to stand for re-election in the early vote. Maduro thanked the Constituent Assembly for "having taken this step to strengthen the peace of the country."
The controversial Constituent Assembly was created in July. The opposition regards it as a ploy by Maduro to override the National Assembly where the opposition holds a majority.
Analysts say Maduro has a good chance of winning the snap election because the opposition has been weakened. Several key leaders have been arrested, some are in jail and others have fled the country.


Wednesday, January 24th 2018

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