By Sergio Garcia
Venezuela’s opposition coalition said Wednesday it won’t take part in the presidential elections called by the National Election Council (CNE) for April 22, in which Nicolas Maduro is seeking a second term.
In a statement, the Mesa de Unidad Democrática (MUD) argued that the date chosen for the polls does not offer them any guarantees, calling the elections a “premature” event “lacking proper conditions”.
They said the elections “are only a show put on by the government in order to pretend to have the legitimacy that it lacks in the midst of Venezuelans’ suffering”.
They proposed that the elections be carried out during the second semester of this year, asking for the date to be decided by a “balanced National Election Council”.
The opposition asked that independent international observation missions monitor the process for choosing a new election date and that the right to vote for Venezuelans abroad be guaranteed.
The MUD also asked the government of Nicolas Maduro for equal access to public and private media as well as for the ineligibility of certain opposition parties and leaders to be revoked.
CNE President Tibisay Lucena announced during a press conference on Feb. 7 that April 22, was chosen as the date for the presidential elections.
The CNE called for early presidential polls hours after talks in the Dominican Republic between the Venezuelan government and the opposition broke down due to a disagreement over how to conduct the vote.
*Ahmed Fawzi Mostefai contributed to this report.