Venezuela Delays Presidential Elections to Late May

Venezuelan opposition candidate Henri Falcon in Caracas on Tuesday after registering his candidacy for April’s presidential elections

The head of the National Electoral Council, Tibisay Lucena, said the vote will be held in the second half of May, at the same time as elections for state legislatures and municipal councils.

As well as a change in the date, Falcon is demanding reforms of the pro-government election board, United Nations observers, and the end of state handouts close to voting booths on election days.

President Nicolas Maduro, who officially reigsitred Tuesday his candidacy for the April 22 presidential elections, announced new social programs next month to relief the Venezuelan people, including the "Humanized Delivery" health program, the delivery of three million socialist cards and 200,000 additional pensions.

Among other requests, the Government and the opposition also accepted the reopening of the electoral registry, in the country and overseas, to include more voters for the aforementioned elections.

Despite an economic crisis that has led to low approval ratings for Mr. "If a bank somewhere in the world works with Venezuela, they feel they are going to be sanctioned", said Arreaza.

Maduro says Venezuela's election system is clean, and accuses the United States of leading a right-wing worldwide conspiracy to end socialism and take over his nation's oil.

The US has said it would consider imposing further sanctions against the government if it went ahead with the presidential vote under what it called fraudulent conditions.

Two-time presidential candidate and leader of the Primero Justicia (PJ) opposition party, which is part of the MUD group, Henrique Capriles said: "Sadly, he [Falcon] has given into the temptation to participate and with that he is playing the game of the Maduro government, and we have to condemn him for it".

The organisation tweeted that none of its members had signed the agreement with the Electoral Council.

Meanwhile, the Democratic Unity Table (MUD) opposition coalition did not sign the agreement because it has made a decision to boycott the elections.

The announcement of the delay comes as the Trump administration is reportedly considering even more sanctions.

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