USA says not a good idea for Venezuela's Maduro to run again

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Polls show Venezuelans that overwhelmingly blame Maduro for widespread food shortages and triple-digit inflation.

The election was scheduled to be held by the end of 2018, but some analysts had predicted Maduro would seek an earlier vote to take advantage of opposition that has splintered in its complaints about his rule.

"They should find the closest date, to get this out of the way so we can begin to make a great revolution", a jubilant Maduro told hundreds of red-shirted supporters at a rally to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the end of Venezuela's last military dictatorship.

The most prominent official on the European list is Diosdado Cabello, the head of Venezuela's ruling socialist party who is considered to be the nation's second most powerful leader.

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If he attempts to do so, Rajoy promised to continue the implementation of Article 155, which does not have a time limit. Spain's Supreme Court dropped an arrest warrant in December but the prosecutor applied for it to be reissued on Monday.

USA officials told reporters in a conference call that the executive order did not target the Venezuelan people or economy and stressed that upcoming legislative elections should be held without intimidation of government opponents.

US State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert said on Tuesday she did not think it would be a good idea for Maduro to run for re-election.

After the proposal was accepted, the ANC urged the National Electoral Council, or CNE, to finalize the date of the elections.

The official also commented on recent sanctions imposed by the USA government on Venezuelan officials, affirming that "if the world wants to apply sanctions to us, we will apply elections".

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The timing of the election, which still needs to be specified by the national electoral commission, catches the opposition in a desperately weakened state. Maduro, ignoring threats of global censure, plowed ahead with the vote for the Constituent Assembly last July and neutered the opposition-controlled National Assembly. The opposition achieved its most important triumph in December 2015, when it took control of National Assembly, a legislative body that Chavismo has disabled with creation of Constituent Assembly.

It is the closest that Maduro - who assumed power in April 2013 after Chavez died in office from cancer - has come to declaring his candidacy outright. If you release right that our people have to decide y go!

Venezuela was once one of Latin America's wealthiest countries, sitting atop the world's largest oil reserves.

The official notification of the sanctions said intelligence chief Gustavo Gonzalez Lopez was responsible for "serious human rights violations including arbitrary detention, inhuman and degrading treatment, and torture".

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Meanwhile, opposition parties are planning to hold primaries in order to choose a unified presidential candidate.

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