Venezuela | Presidential election set for July 28 but without opposition candidate

(Caracas) The presidential election in Venezuela will take place on July 28, as decided on Tuesday by the National Electoral Council. But if the head of state Nicolas Maduro is expected to announce his candidacy for a third term, the name of the opposition candidate remains unknown.

Government and opposition agreed in October in Barbados to organize this election during the second half of 2024 in the presence of international observers.

This agreement, under the aegis in particular of Norway, mediator in the negotiations, also opened up to those “aspiring to run” the possibility of contesting their ineligibility in court. And the opposition hoped that this procedure would allow its champion, Maria Corina Machado, declared ineligible by the courts, to finally be able to present herself.

But the Supreme Court, accused of being at the behest of those in power, confirmed on January 26 the ineligibility of the woman who had won the Venezuelan opposition primary in October, receiving more than two million votes and 92%. votes.

No elections “without me”, launched after his sentence to 15 years of ineligibility Mme Machado who persists in wanting to introduce himself.

For Norway, it is “fundamental” that the Barbados agreement applies.

Applications can be submitted from March 21 to 25. The electoral campaign is scheduled to run from July 4 to 25, said the CNE.

Subject to individual sanctions from the United States since 2017 and the European Union since 2020, the president of the National Electoral Council Elvis Amoroso was responsible for disqualifying Mme Machado but also the opponent Henrique Capriles, unsuccessful candidate in 2012 against Hugo Chavez.

Russian ally

The Supreme Court’s decision was vigorously denounced by Washington, the EU and several South American countries.

At the same time, the United States announced that it would reactivate sanctions against Venezuela’s oil and gas sector, suspended for six months in the wake of the Barbados agreement.

Caracas, which has Moscow as an ally, immediately denounced American “blackmail”.

Nicolas Maduro has repeatedly expressed his support for Russian head of state Vladimir Putin before and after the start of the war in Ukraine.

Relations between Venezuela and Russia strengthened under the government of former President Chavez (1999-2013) who at the time supported Moscow during the war in Georgia in 2008.

On February 20, during a visit to Caracas by Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, the two countries agreed to expand their oil cooperation and considered a “peaceful use of nuclear energy”.


A pre-election campaign atmosphere already reigns in the ranks of the ruling party. Mr. Maduro has started traveling to the provinces, which until now was the exception.

The slogan of support for the president, “Come on Nico!” ”, was chanted in the parliament chamber on Tuesday after the announcement of the election date.

Maria Corina Machado is also in the pre-campaign: last week she toured the eastern regions of Venezuela. This Tuesday, she is in Barinas, the native state of Hugo Chavez, won by the opposition following the 2021 gubernatorial election.

Experts, however, agree that Mme Machado could end up being forced to name a successor.

Other candidates, very far from the opposition which describes them as “collaborators”, have also announced their intention to run. Which, according to analysts, aims to divide the anti-Maduro vote.

Successor to Hugo Chavez, who died in 2013, Nicolas Maduro was re-elected in 2018 during a vote boycotted by the opposition and whose legitimacy more than 60 countries did not recognize.


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