CARACAS (Reuters) – Venezuela will vote for a new parliament on Dec. 6, the country’s elections council said on Wednesday, officially setting a date for a poll that the opposition says is rigged in favor of the ruling Socialist Party.
The opposition has controlled parliament since 2016, and current legislative chief Juan Guaido has been recognized by dozens of countries as the nation’s rightful leader following the disputed 2018 re-election of President Nicolas Maduro.
“We announce for Dec. 6, 2020, the electoral process (for) the National Assembly for the 2021-2026 period,” elections council chief Indira Alfonzo said in a televised broadcast.
A member of the council’s board, Rafael Simon Jimenez, earlier in the day told reporters the council was leaning toward setting the vote for Dec. 13.
The opposition has refused to recognize the decisions of the recently named elections board on the grounds that it was illegally designated by the pro-government supreme court.
“Venezuelans will not participate in a farce, as we did not in May 2018,” Guaido wrote on Twitter, referring to Maduro’s re-election that was broadly boycotted by the opposition. “We choose to live with dignity and in democracy.”
Maduro’s critics also note that the top court intervened in the leadership of the main opposition parties, putting them in the hands of party members who were expelled on accusations that they were shadow allies of the ruling Socialists.
Losing control of the parliament would complicate the standing of Guaido.
(Reporting by Vivian Sequera, Mayela Armas and Brian Ellsworth; Editing by Leslie Adler)