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A Guide to 2018 Latin American Elections: Venezuela



Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro is running for reelection on May 20 in a race boycotted by all major opposition parties. The snap elections were called unilaterally by the Maduro administration, in defiance of the opposition coalition, the international community, and tradition, which dictates the elections be held in the latter part of the year. Furthermore, the election was approved by the Constituent Assembly, a body deemed illegal by the opposition and the international community. Dozens of opposition candidates and office-holders—from the presidential to local levels—are prohibited from running because they’ve been jailed, disqualified, or physically threatened and forced to leave the country. Election officials also ruled several large opposition parties were ineligible to field candidates in 2018.

Maduro will have one challenger, however: Henri Falcón, a chavista-turned-opposition-figure and former governor. Upon announcing his candidacy, the opposition kicked him out of the coalition.

Venezuelan presidents serve six-year terms.

>> Find out about other elections in our main 2018 Election Guide.

A Venezuelan walks past a wall with graffiti that reads "I won't vote."

LatAm in Focus: Everything More Important than Venezuela's Election

May 16, 2018

Northwestern’s Daniel Lansberg-Rodríguez explains why the international private sector might be more effective than sanctions at bringing change to the South American country. 

Video: ¿Qué pasará en Venezuela después del 20 de mayo?

May 14, 2018

Días previos a las elecciones, tres destacados panelistas analizaron el panorama económico y político en Venezuela—y lo que le espera al país en el futuro.

Venezuela’s Elections Will Surely Be Rigged. So Why Run?

March 28, 2018

Henri Falcón’s candidacy in May’s election could be aimed more at opposition politics than defeating Nicolás Maduro.

Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro

Update: What Is Happening with Venezuela's Presidential Election?

February 22, 2018

Venezuela is holding presidential elections, but they’ll be far from free and fair.

A voter in Chihuahua, Mexico. (AP)

LatAm in Focus: From Elections to Trade, Latin America's Big 2018 Stories

January 11, 2018

If 2017 was the year that changed Washington, 2018 will redefine Latin America. AS/COA experts explain how in our first podcast of the year.

2018 Latin American elections flags

A Timeline of 2017 and 2018 Elections in Latin America

November 16, 2017

Latin Americans will vote for nine new presidents in two years, along with more than 2,900 legislators.

Americas Quarterly After Maduro Venezuela cover

Meet 10 People Who Will (One Day) Rebuild Venezuela

April 23, 2018

Rebuilding Venezuela will require a diverse mix of people with great talent and realistic goals. AQ's new issue profiles 10 of them — and takes a hard look at the challenges ahead.