Venezuela presidential election pushed back to May


Caracas (AFP)

Venezuela's presidential election, which was set to be held on April 22, has been pushed back to the second half of May, the country's electoral body said Thursday.

The National Electoral Council (CNE) announced the postponement in a statement but did not give a precise date for the election, in which President Nicolas Maduro will seek a second six-year term.

Elections for Venezuela's regional governments will take place at the same time, the CNE said.

"It is proposed that the elections for president be held simultaneously" with elections for regional legislations "in the second half of May 2018."

It said the proposal to postpone the presidential poll had been agreed by the government and the opposition candidate Henri Falcon.

The CNE's chairman, Tibisay Lucena, said the agreement of both sides demonstrated the fact "that our leaders and respresentatives are elected with the broadest constitutional and democratic guarantees."

The main opposition coalition, the MUD -- which is boycotting the election -- has long criticized the CNE as a government tool.

The MUD called Thursday on Falcon, a 56-year-old retired military officer, to withdraw from the election, accusing him of legitimizing a poll lacking in any guarantees that it would be free and fair.

Registration of candidates for the presidential poll ends on Thursday.