CARACAS – President Nicolas Maduro on Tuesday placed himself “at the disposal” of Venezuela’s PSUV party and the Great Patriotic Pole coalition as a candidate for re-election in the nationwide balloting that would be held in April.
“If the PSUV, if the forces of the GPP ... if the working class, the youth believe that I should be the presidential candidate for the homeland ... I’m at (their) disposal,” Maduro told the media at an event in downtown Caracas.
The Constituent National Assembly (ANC), comprised only of government supporters, approved on Tuesday a decree to hold the presidential election scheduled for this year during the first quarter.
If selected by his party as its presidential candidate, Maduro would be running for a six-year term, after being initially elected on April 14, 2013, one month after the death of former President Hugo Chavez, who tapped Maduro as his successor and called upon Chavista forces to back him at the polls.
Maduro, who is also president of the PSUV, congratulated the ANC for decreeing the election “with an eye to strengthening the democratic spirit (and) the peace of the country,” adding that calling the election for the first quarter was the “correct step.”
He also called upon the opposition to participate in the vote.
Holding “balanced” elections under the supervision of the National Election Council (CNE) is one of the requests being made by the opposition in its negotiations with the government in the talks being hosted by the Dominican Republic.
Four of the five officials comprising the CNE are Chavistas and the council has been accused of multiple irregularities during the current government, including inflating participation data for the July 30 election, during which the ANC members were elected.
Thus, the opposition has no faith in the institution and has asked that its top officials be replaced, for qualified international observers to oversee any balloting and other measures to guarantee “clean and competitive” elections.