Venezuela on Thursday postponed its upcoming presidential vote to May in a move cementing an opposition split as socialist incumbent Nicolas Maduro seeks re-election despite an economic crisis and global censure.
The national election board announced the vote slated for April 22 had been pushed back to the second half of May, with a final date to be specified later, after a pact between Maduro’s government and some opposition parties.
The main opposition coalition is boycotting the poll, saying it is a farce intended to legitimize a “dictatorship.”
Maduro’s two strongest opposition rivals, Leopoldo Lopez and Henrique Capriles, are both barred from standing, and most Venezuelans view the election board as compliant to Maduro.
Western nations and a dozen Latin American neighbors have denounced Maduro’s government over unfair conditions for the vote.
The United States is considering imposing sanctions on the OPEC member’s crucial oil sector.
Thursday’s agreement to postpone the presidential election with Progressive Advance party, led by Henri Falcon, and some other movement, was evidence of a reconciliatory spirit that undercut foreign criticism of autocratic rule in Venezuela.