Venezuela's Maduro accepts party nomination, will seek third term

AFP , Saturday 16 Mar 2024

Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro said Saturday he will seek a third term in July 28 elections, from which the state apparatus has excluded his main rival -- the favorite in opinion polls.

File photo: Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro speaks to supporters during a rally in support of his government in Caracas on January 23, 2024. AFP


"We'll go to a new victory," the 61-year-old said as he accepted his ruling PSUV party's official nomination to be its candidate, after 11 years in office marked by sanctions, economic collapse and accusations of widespread repression.

There was no challenger from within the "Chavista" movement, in power for 25 years and named for Maduro's popular predecessor Hugo Chavez.

"I am here for the people, that is why today, March 16 of this year, 2024, I accept the presidential candidacy for the elections of July 28," the incumbent said.

Maduro will have served 18 years as president of the once-prosperous South American country at the end of a third, successive term.

Since 2013, he has presided over a severe economic crisis, worsened by US sanctions, that has seen seven million people flee the country as GDP plummeted by 80 percent in a decade.

With backing from a system of political patronage, the military -- as well as Cuba, Russia and China -- he has consolidated power over parliament, the judiciary and other state institutions, and jailed and neutralized critics and challengers.

Opposition leader Maria Corina Machado, who polls show would beat the incumbent in a fair race, has been disqualified by Maduro-aligned courts on charges of corruption widely dismissed as spurious, and for supporting Western sanctions against the regime.

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