Venezuela presidential election 2018 kicks off

TEHRAN, May 20 (MNA) – Venezuela presidential election 2018 kicks off on Sunday, despite the fact that main opposition coalition has decided to boycott the elections.

Four candidates are running for Venezuelan presidential election but the two main players are Nicolas Maduro and opposition candidate Henri Falcon.

Nicolas Maduro 

Nicolas Maduro, 55, has been Venezuela's president since former President Hugo Chavez died in 2013.

Under Chavez, the country turned towards socialism. Maduro continued many of the Chavez policies and during his campaign has promised to create a "new economy" in the country. 

Maduro stated he had followed Chavez's legacy, adding "I will dedicate my life to fixing the economy of this country. My spirit is renewed, my energy recharged."

Henri Falcon 

Falcon is Maduro's primary opponent and was once a Chavez supporter. A lawyer and former governor of Lara State, he broke with the ruling party in 2010, and in 2013 was the campaign chief for opposition candidate Henrique Capriles. 

In 2018, he decided to break with the opposition and run as an independent candidate. 

In an op-ed written for the New York Times, Falcon said he decided on the break because "electoral boycotts almost never work. In country after country, opposition forces that abandoned the field of electoral competition have lost ground and allowed rulers to consolidate power."

Among his proposals are the use of the US dollar as a currency instead of the Bolivar to try to stabilise the economy. He also said he would accept foreign aid to Venezuela and would consider working with the International Monetary Fund (IMF). 

Javier Bertucci

Bertucci is an evangelical pastor who announced his candidacy on February 18, 2018.  

He calls himself an "independent candidate with no political history." 

Bertucci has said he would eliminate exchange controls and attempt to increase foreign investment. He also said he would not eliminate the social programes initiated by Chavez' "Bolivarian Revolution". 

Reinaldo Quijada

Quijada is an electrical engineer who follows the Chavista movement; he announced his candidacy on April 22. 

The engineer defends Bolivarian Revolution but does not support Maduro's government. If he wins, Quijada claims he will continue the "revolutionary process" started by Chavez in Venezuela. 

Outsiders have little doubt that Mr Maduro will win and the president himself remains confident. "The revolution is going to record the biggest victory in its entire electoral history", he said in early May.

The main opposition, the Democratic Unity coalition, is boycotting the vote and has refused to enter any candidates. Henri Falcon, 56, of Progressive Advance is standing, however, as is independent Javier Bertucci, 48.

LR/PR

News Code 134180

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