Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro has said he is “ready to be a candidate” after the country’s Constituent Assembly unanimously voted to hold a presidential election by the end of April.
The move on Tuesday came amid growing speculation that elections would be held in the first part of 2018, as the ruling Socialists hope to take advantage of a deep political crisis hampering the divided opposition.
Last year, Maduro faced months of protests for presiding over a debilitating economic crisis that has seen a high inflation rate and shortages of food and other basic amenities. The rallies, however, failed to unseat him.
“The electoral process should be called in the first four months of the year 2018,” Diosdado Cabello, the Socialist Party’s number two, told the pro-government legislative superbody which ordered the election.
“We won’t have a problem, we only have one candidate to continue the revolution,” Venezuelan media quoted him as saying.
“If the world wants to apply sanctions, we will apply elections,” added Cabello, referring to the economic measures on himself and six other senior Venezuelan officials which were introduced by the European Union on Monday.
After the vote at the assembly, Maduro told reporters that he would stand for re-election if the Socialist Party asked him to.
Source: Al Jazeera News