03:56 GMT18 April 2021
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    Venezuela's National Electoral Council (CNE) on Wednesday set December 6 as the date for parliamentary elections.

    CNE President Indira Alfonzo Izaguirre also announced that the 87 constituencies used during the 2015 parliamentary elections will be conserved, while the number of deputies to be elected to the National Assembly will increase by 66%, from 167 to 277, Telesur reported.

    The decision is a "method to balance" the Venezuelan electoral system between the list vote (48% weight) and the nominal vote (52% weight), Izaguirre said.

    The opposition coalition, led by Juan Guaido, Venezuela's self-proclaimed interim president, does not recognize the government-aligned Supreme Court's rulings and has said that it will boycott the vote.

    The Supreme Court in June appointed a new CNE ahead of the vote to elect lawmakers to the National Assembly, Reuters reported.

    Guaido in January instituted a “parallel” parliament in Caracas. The National Assembly is being led by its president, Luis Parra, whose election Guaido and his allies have called illegitimate, claiming the session was not attended by the minimum required number of lawmakers. Even though Guaido didn’t appear to have the required 84 deputies that must be present, the parallel vote established him as president of its legislature.

    Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro in January suggested that United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres designate a commission of observers for parliamentary elections to take place in December, noting that he wants the international community to see how Venezuela rebuilds its National Assembly.

    Guaido declared himself interim president in January 2019 an effort to oust Maduro from power. The United States and several other Western countries have sided with Guaido, while Russia, China and Turkey, among other nations, have been supporting Maduro, recognizing him as the only legitimate leader of Venezuela.

    Washington has repeatedly imposed economic sanctions on Venezuela in recent years to escalate its campaign against Maduro. Last week, US President Donald Trump said he might consider meeting with Maduro to discuss only "one thing," which Trump said would be Maduro's "peaceful exit from power."

    Trump's statement came after he told Axios that he has had second thoughts about his decision to recognize Guaido as Venezuela's legitimate leader.


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