Presidential elections are scheduled to be held in Venezuela on 20 May. Considered a snap election, the original electoral date was scheduled for December 2018, pulled ahead to 22 April 2018, but then delayed for additional weeks to May 2018.
Several Venezuelan NGOs such as Foro Penal Venezolano, Súmate, Voto Joven, the Venezuelan Electoral Observatory and the Citizen Electoral Network, have expressed their concern over the irregularities of the electoral schedule, including the lack of the Constituent Assembly’s competences to summon the elections, impeding participation of opposition political parties and the lack of time for standard electoral functions. Because of this, the United Nations Human Rights Council, European Union, the Organization of American States, the Lima Group and countries such as the United States and Colombia have rejected the electoral process. However, countries such as Antigua and Barbuda, Bolivia, Cuba, Nicaragua and Russia have voiced their support for the announcement.
In March 2017, parties of the Democratic Unity Roundtable (MUD), the opposition’s main electoral alliance, began discussion on who would be their candidate for the 2018 presidential elections running against incumbent, Nicolas Maduro.
On 14 March 2017, Popular Will announced that Leopoldo López, the party’s National Coordinator who is currently imprisoned for his role in the 2014 Venezuelan protests against the Bolivarian government, was chosen to be their candidate for the MUD primaries. Days later on 20 March 2017, Justice First chose Henrique Capriles Radonski to be their candidate for the primaries, his third run for the presidency, with his previous attempts occurring in the 2012 and 2013 Venezuelan presidential election. On 21 March 2017, Henry Ramos Allup, a veteran politician in Venezuela, was chosen to be the candidate for the Democratic Action.
On 11 December 2017, President Maduro announced that many of the main opposition parties, including Justice First and Popular Will, would be banned from participating in the 2018 presidential election because of their boycott of the 2017 municipal elections.
The President of Venezuela is elected by plurality in a single round of voting.
Sources and Further Reading
Venezuela opposition weighs election run after talks end
Venezuela’s Maduro: International Observers Will Accompany 2018 Presidential Elections