Dictator Nicolás Maduro postponed Venezuela’s upcoming presidential election to May 20, claiming this would provide a number of “electoral guarantees,” the country’s National Electoral Council (NEC) announced on Thursday.
The electoral board said that it had pushed back the election after the Maduro regime and some other fringe left-wing parties reached an agreement CNE chief Tibisay Lucena claimed will ensure “electoral guarantees” in what is widely expected to be a sham election.
The agreement comes days after former Chávez ally Henri Falcón announced his candidacy for the election as the leader of the “Progressive Advance” party, meaning he will face off against candidates from other left-wing parties including the Venezuelan Communist Party, the leftist Popular Venezuelan Union (UPV) party, and Fatherland for All (PPT).
Candidates from the anti-Maduro coalition Democratic Unity Roundtable (MUD) recently announced that they would boycott the election after the Venezuelan Supreme Court banned them from participating, ruling that any MUD candidate must run as a member of any of the parties that operate under the MUD umbrella but not simply as a MUD candidate.
The regime has banned other individual candidates, such as Justice First leader Henrique Capriles, from running on alleged corruption charges, while other prominent opposition leaders, such as Popular Will leader Leopoldo López and rightful Caracas Mayor Antonio Ledezma, remain imprisoned or exiled by the regime.
Maduro announced the election in January, arguing that “imperialism and the right were plotting to take over the economy” and declaring that “Donald Trump is not the boss of Venezuela.”
Regional powers such as Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Mexico, and Peru have already said they will not recognize the result, while the U.S. has promised additional sanctions against the regime should the fraudulent process go ahead.
The election, which will now take place on May 20th — the independence day of Venezuela patron state Cuba — is widely expected to be rigged in Maduro’s favor as he seeks to cement his authority on the country that is experiencing the worst political, economic, and humanitarian crisis in its history.
Since the day’s of the late president Hugo Chávez, the United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV) has successfully rigged multiple electoral processes.
Last year alone, the regime conducted two separate electoral frauds, one during regional elections and the doctoring of numbers in a vote to legitimize a fraudulent lawmaking body known as the “national constituent assembly.”
Widespread evidence also suggests that Maduro lost the last presidential election against Henrique Capriles in 2013 but coordinated an electoral fraud that gave him a razor-thin victory of 235,000 votes.
As such, the majority of opposition leaders have called for an electoral boycott, although some fear that doing so will only allow Maduro to retain power for another six years and turn the country into a socialist dictatorship based on Castro’s Cuba.