Presidential Elections in Venezuela Set for Second Half of May

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Despite statements from parties in the Democratic Unity Roundtable, or MUD, coalition that they would not take part in the upcoming elections, the Venezuelan president called on the opposition to challenge him and ignore instructions coming from the United States.

Candidates Maduro and Falcon signed the agreement at the National Electoral Council (CNE), while the election on the same date of members for the Legislative and Municipal Councils was also agreed.

However, Nicaragua, Bolivia, the Dominican Republic and El Salvador rejected the OAS resolution in February that called on Venezuela to "reconsider the convening of the presidential elections" on April 22.

The government had originally scheduled it for April; but on Thursday the National Electoral Council announced it's holding off until May 20.

It comes amid an ever-worsening economic and political crisis which has left many Venezuelans malnourished and led hundreds of thousands to flee the country.

Maduro's two strongest opposition rivals, Leopoldo Lopez and Henrique Capriles, are both barred from standing, and most Venezuelans view the election board as answerable to Maduro.

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 pact was signed by representatives of the political organizations that nominated President Nicolás Maduro for his reelection, and by parties that support the opposition candidate Henri Falcón, Avanzada Progresista, Copei and the MAS.

The agreement to change the date of Venezuela's presidential election was made between President Nicolas Maduro's government and representatives of a number of parties that broke away from the main opposition coalition when it chose to boycott the presidential elections.

It is also not clear whether the delay will ease pressure on the Venezuelan government.

The administration of President Donald Trump is also weighing possible sanctions against additional senior military and political figures, including the Socialist Party's second-ranking figure Diosdado Cabello, the official claimed.