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article imageVenezuelan opposition says won't contest April 22 polls without guarantees

By AFP     Feb 21, 2018 in World

Venezuela's opposition announced Wednesday it would not participate in April 22 presidential elections without guarantees that it would be free and fair.

"Do not count on the Democratic Unity Roundtable (MUD), or the people, to endorse what until now is only a fraudulent and illegitimate simulation of the presidential election," opposition coordinator Angel Oropeza told a press conference.

The opposition has accused President Nicolas Maduro of engineering a second term for himself by bringing forward the election from December.

Among the opposition's main demands is that the election takes place in the "second half of 2018," that it be held under the auspices of a "balanced" National Electoral Council, and in the presence of independent international observers to monitor the polls.

"We challenge the Maduro government to be measured against the people in real elections," the MUD said.

Leading opponents have been barred from standing in the election in which Maduro is seeking a second six-year term, despite a worsening political and economic crisis.

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