There are the repeated calls from leaders in the region to suspend the election because it is “illegitimate” and lacking in “credibility.”
“Maduro’s government is struggling for electoral legitimacy,” said Michael McCarthy, a research fellow at the American University and founder of the Caracas Wire. Maduro is trying hard to convince the world that “the vote is credible, clean and competitive,” he said.
McCarthy said that, more than anything, he expects “general apathy” will be the real winner in this year’s elections, with low turnout at the polls.
For Maduro, he said, voter turnout will one of the biggest challenges on Sunday.
As the day of the election approaches, here’s what you need to know.
The two main players on Sunday will be Maduro and opposition candidate Henri Falcon. The main opposition coalition chose to boycott the elections.
Maduro has been Venezuela’s President since former President Hugo Chavez died in 2013.
Under Chavez, the country turned toward socialism. Many Venezuelans saw him as the hero of the poor. Before he died, Chavez picked Maduro as his successor, which helped put Maduro over the top in the 2013 presidential election.
Once he took power, Maduro kept up Chavez’s practices such as huge welfare programs and price controls for most goods, including food.
Maduro blames his opponents for Venezuela’s economic woes and says US sanctions on Venezuelan leaders are proof the United States is waging an “economic war.”
Maduro has also kept humanitarian aid from coming into the country.
In recent years he has been very vocal against the government. He also believes the way out of the financial crisis is the dollarization of the country — pinning the country’s economy on the dollar.
His campaign website also says that, if he wins, he will appoint a cabinet that will work to re-establish Venezuela’s relations with the world and will seek new channels for humanitarian aid and economic development for the country.
Why are many foreign leaders calling the election illegitimate?
Venezuela’s National Electoral Council (CNE) set the date of the election despite the absence of an agreement between the Maduro government and the political opposition coalition.
The Presidential election was originally scheduled to take place in December of 2018, but was moved up to April in a surprise move by the government.
The government and the opposition agreed to hold talks in the Dominican Republic to see if they could agree to election terms. When the talks broke down, the election date was set for May.
The opposition then decided to boycott the election.
He was banned due to “administrative irregularities” during his time as governor for the Miranda state. Capriles and the opposition coalition rejected the decision, calling it a political move to silence the opposition.
For their part, the Venezuelan government says the election will be fair, transparent and reliable. Maduro hails Venezuela’s robust democracy as a way for the people of his country to remain free from imperialistic powers of foreign countries.
Most countries in the region echoes the same sentiment. Very few have said they see Sunday’s election as legitimate.
What happens next?
By Monday, Venezuelans should have a good idea of who will be the country’s next President, if not the final results.
It also remains to be seen if voters will come out to the polls on Sunday, or if the calls by the opposition to boycott the election will be heeded.
While the 2017 elections were marred by violence and massive protests, there are currently no large-scale demonstrations scheduled for election day.