Venezuelan President will run for re-election in 2018

Venezuelan President will run for re-election in 2018

Venezuela's pro-government constituent assembly announced on Tuesday that elections should be held by April 30.

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro looked sure to stand for re-election in a presidential vote due by the end of April where the ruling Socialists hope to trump a squabbling opposition despite an economic crisis and foreign sanctions. Venezuela now suffers from food shortages, hyperinflation, and dwindling oil production - provoking massive migration out of the country.

Maduro's comments Tuesday came shortly after the pro-government constitutional assembly ordered elections be held by the end of April.

"We won't have a problem, we only have one candidate to continue the revolution", Venezuelan media quoted him as saying.

The announcement comes after the European Union imposed sanctions against seven high-ranking officials for their role in suppressing democratic freedoms on protesters and the violent anti-Maduro protests past year.

Top party official Diosdado Cabello confirmed to the Assembly that Maduro would be the party's sole candidate.

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Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro and Nestor Reverol, general commander of the Venezuelan National Guard, at Maduro's annual report of the state of the nation, at the National Assembly in Caracas, January 15, 2016.

One of first opposition leaders to react has been precisely former presidential candidate Henrique Capriles, who has claimed "unity more than ever" to "restore democracy".

Its most popular leaders are nearly all sidelined from politics - jailed, in exile, or barred from holding office.

During meetings with government delegates in the Dominican Republic, opposition leaders had pushed for the election to be held in December - when presidential balloting traditionally takes place - and for the electoral council to be staffed with neutral officials. The opposition is divided by different criteria that have emerged in recent months on way forward to deal with government.

The election for the Constituent Assembly was boycotted by the opposition.

"Despite the obstacles to the opposition right now, it's to their advantage to get behind a single candidate and encourage people to vote, even though the deck is stacked against them", he said.