CARACAS – The National Electoral Council (CNE) has decided that an election will be held on April 14 to choose Venezuela’s president from now until 2019, the term begun by the late Hugo Chavez, council chairwoman Tibisay Lucena announced Saturday.
Lucena said at a press conference that the electoral campaign will last 10 days, between April 2 and April 11 at midnight, and that presidential candidates may register from this Sunday at 8 a.m. until Monday at 2:30 p.m.
The CNE also approved a request by the Union of South American Nations (Unasur) to send a “mission of accompaniment,” as it did to the October 7 election that Chavez won last year.
Lucena said that the timetable was established by “closely studying the legal, constitutional and technical limitations... while contemplating all the audits and other actions needed to guarantee the purity and transparency of the process.”
The scheduling of the election follows the death of Chavez last Tuesday at age 58 after 20 months of battling cancer.
The Venezuelan Constitution establishes that in case of the president’s “absolute absence,” new elections must be held within 30 days.
If this absolute absence occurs during the first four years of the president’s administration, the vice president becomes acting president.
Nicolas Maduro, who was sworn-in Friday as acting president, will be the ruling-party candidate, just as Chavez himself announced last Dec. 8 before undergoing his last surgery and knowing that he might not pull through.
Meanwhile, the MUD opposition coalition announced on Saturday that it offered its presidential candidacy to Henrique Capriles, who ran and lost to Chavez in last October’s election.
“We have agreed to offer Henrique Capriles the presidential candidacy, the secretary of MUD, Ramon Guillermo Aveledo, announced in a public appearance.