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Venezuela leader seeking to 'consolidate dictatorship' — US

Monday, December 11, 2017

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WASHINGTOn, United States (AFP) — President Nicolas Maduro is pushing Venezuela deeper into "dictatorship" by declaring that opposition parties will be barred from next year's presidential election, the US State Department charged Monday.

Maduro made the statement after opposition parties boycotted mayoral elections held Sunday on the grounds voting would not be transparent. Maduro is running for re-election in 2018.

"Maduro's attempt to ban opposition parties from presidential elections is yet another extreme measure to close the democratic space in Venezuela & consolidate power in his authoritarian dictatorship," department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said on Twitter.

"We stand with the Venezuelan people as they seek to restore their democracy," she added.
Maduro said his party won more than 300 of Venezuela's 355 mayoral races in Sunday's voting.

Six months after a wave of deadly protests demanding his resignation, Maduro appears to have reasserted control over the oil-rich but crisis-wracked country.

The United States has stepped up criticism of Maduro since summer and imposed several rounds of sanctions against his leftist government.




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