Venezuela threatens to call off 2018 elections

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Venezuela could suspend next year's presidential elections unless the US lifts financial sanctions against the crisis-stricken country, a top official has warned.

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In comments aired by state broadcaster VTV, information minister Jorge Rodríguez said government talks with political opponents were also threatened by attempts to "destabilize" Venezuela by the US, Canada and Europe.

"Venezuela will not hold elections and will not sign any accord with the opposition until vulgar sanctions ... requested by Venezuela's right wing leadership are lifted," he said.

The comments followed talks between the government and opposition parties in the Dominican Republic aimed at ending the OPEC nation's ongoing political and economic crisis.

The US last month imposed sanctions on 10 Venezuelan officials accused of corruption and undermining democracy. In August, Washington banned debt trading of bonds issued by the Venezuelan government and state-owned oil company PDVSA.

Canada has also levied sanctions on Venezuelan individuals and the EU has announced an arms embargo.

According to Venezuela's constitution, a presidential election must be held every six years. Authorities are yet to announce a date for the 2018 vote.