Venezuelan Electoral Body Sets Presidential Election Date

"The National Electoral Council has been in permanent session, since Monday, analyzing the dates and working on different scenarios and schedules.Today we decided, and the presidential elections are scheduled for April 22, 2018", she said during a press conference in Caracas.

The head of Venezuela's electoral authority, Tibisay Lucena, announced the date on February 7.

Maduro, 55, who narrowly won elections in 2013 to replace former President Hugo Chavez, is the favorite to win the presidential vote.

Sponsored by Medina and former Spanish prime minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero, the dialogue had support from representatives of the Chilean government at the request of the Venezuelan opposition, while Maduro's government had invited Bolivia, Nicaragua and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines to participate.

"Beyond severe criticism, I have the obligation to reach agreements for the peace of the country", the president reiterated. The opposition had called for guarantees from the government, including the release of political prisoners and the reinstatement of politicians who had been barred from office.

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Two opposition leaders, Henry Ramos and Henri Falcon, have also announced presidential aspirations, but both are divisive figures: Ramos is seen as too old-school by many, while Falcon recently lost a re-election bid for governor of Lara state.

Medina, on Wednesday, told reporters "In any case, we will send (the government) the document the opposition submitted to us ... but not with the expectation that they are going to respond".

DELEGATIONS from the Government and the Venezuelan opposition are in Santo Domingo to resume talks and sign an agreement of coexistence and peace.

Venezuelan government representatives have accused the United States of attempting to "sabotage" the talks, claiming that the opposition was receiving instructions from the U.S. administration.

Opponents say the government is rigging the election in advance by barring Maduro's strongest rivals - opposition politicians Leopoldo Lopez and Henrique Capriles - and failing to reform a compliant election board. The views expressed therein are not necessarily those of stlucianewsonline.com, its sponsors or advertisers.

  • Megan Austin