Venezuela’s President Nicolás Maduro is calling snap elections eight months ahead of schedule. Venezuela has a fixed term presidential system rather than a parliamentary democracy but this trifling difficulty was overcome by a decree approved by the all-powerful government-controlled constituent assembly instructing the national electoral council (CNE) to organise presidential elections before 30 April. The national dialogue process between the Maduro administration and the political opposition is now dead in the water. The opposition will struggle to overcome its own internal differences, and government-imposed strictures, to select a consensus presidential candidate in such a short space of time without worrying about a pointless sideshow in the Dominican Republic.

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