Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro won a new six-year term on Sunday, the election board announced in what is being seen as a controversial vote.
The turnout at the Venezuelan presidential election amounted at 46.01 percent the official date revealed.
The elections were initially scheduled for December, then changed to April 22, then delayed again to May 2018.
This electoral process has been heavily criticised by the opposition and the international community, who have said they will not recognise it.
Here is what we know:
Venezuela will hold its presidential elections on May 20, but the country will also vote to choose the members of state and municipal legislative councils.
Just over 20 million citizens can vote in the presidential election, and a total of 19 million can choose their representatives in the state legislative councils.
Only Venezuelans living overseas and in Caracas can participate in the presidential elections.
Four candidates are running for president. But the two main players are Nicolas Maduro and opposition candidate Henri Falcon.
The main opposition coalition has decided to boycott the elections.
Nicolas Maduro, 55, has been Venezuela’s president since former President Hugo Chavez died in 2013.
Under Chavez, the country turned towards socialism. Maduro continued many of the Chavez policies and during his campaign has promised to create a “new economy” in the country.
Falcon is Maduro’s primary opponent and was once a Chavez supporter. A lawyer and former governor of Lara State, he broke with the ruling party in 2010, and in 2013 was the campaign chief for opposition candidate Henrique Capriles.
In an op-ed written for the New York Times, Falcon said he decided on the break because “electoral boycotts almost never work. In country after country, opposition forces that abandoned the field of electoral competition have lost ground and allowed rulers to consolidate power.”
Among his proposals are the use of the US dollar as a currency instead of the Bolivar to try to stabilise the economy. He also said he would accept foreign aid to Venezuela and would consider working with the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
Bertucci is an evangelical pastor who announced his candidacy on February 18, 2018.
He calls himself an “independent candidate with no political history.”
Quijada is an electrical engineer who follows the Chavista movement; he announced his candidacy on April 22.
The engineer defends Bolivarian Revolution but does not support Maduro’s government. If he wins, Quijada claims he will continue the “revolutionary process” started by Chavez in Venezuela.
Translation: This is a mock-up of the election card for May 20. Ten “spots” support Maduro vs seven others supporting other candidates from other parties.
Note: Maduro is not wearing red in his clothing.
Este es un modelo (no válido) de tarjetón de la elección del próximo 20 de mayo. 10 tarjetas apoyan a Maduro en la reelección vs. 7 a candidatos de otras corrientes. Detalle: Maduro prescindió del rojo en su vestimenta pic.twitter.com/Yt8zgm7p5t
— Dayimar Ayala Altuve (@Dayidayi) April 29, 2018
The Democratic Unity Roundtable (MUD), a coalition of parties that in recent years worked together and represented the opposition against Chavez and Maduro, declared it would boycott the election.
In a statement, the MUD said the election was “premature” and lacked “proper conditions,” and called it “a show by the government to give an impression of legitimacy that it does not have in the midst of Venezuelans’ agony and suffering.”
Henri Falcon broke with the MUD and decided to run against Maduro. “You will disappear as politicians and as parties for not understanding the dynamics of a country that demands solutions and not conflict,” Falcon told the MUD.
“I’m ready for the battle, ready to make history,” Maduro said. “Who is it who gets to elect the president of Venezuela? A military coup? … The government of Colombia? …. Donald Trump?” Maduro said during Thursday’s event in Caracas.
The government has support across different sectors; according to various estimates, about a quarter of eligible voters continue to support Maduro’s political ideology and policies.
“I don’t think the opposition parties are offering a real alternative to bring change,” Zumira Cardozo, a government supporter, told Al Jazeera. “We reached to this point, due to the economic war they have imposed against the government”, she added.
“The only actor that must recognise the elections is the Venezuelan people, and the only institution that has the faculties to give results and legitimise the process is the National Electoral Council of Venezuela,” the Ministry of People’s Power for Communication and Information wrote.
Economy: The central issue the country is facing is the economic crisis, with current inflation and long queues for food and medicines.
The cost of living and lack of basic goods has led to street protests in recent years. The IMF expects the economy to shrink by 15 percent in 2018, and also expects unemployment to rise to 36 percent by 2022.
Oil industry: Venezuela has the world’s largest oil reserves, but domestic sector is currently failing to meet local needs. The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) says oil production is down to a 30-year low of around 1.4mn barrels a day.
Leaving the country: Many citizens are choosing to leave the country. Roughly 550,000 Venezuelans left for Colombia at the end of 2017, according to migration authorities.
Turkey, Antigua and Barbuda, Bolivia, Cuba, Nicaragua and Russia have voiced their support for this process.
The Lima Group – which brings together 12 nations mostly from Latin America – expressed its “strongest rejection” and stated that this process “will lack all legitimacy and credibility.”
On February 23, the Organization of American States (OAS) approved a resolution that called on the Venezuelan government to cancel the presidential elections.
The European Parliament also said in February that it would not recognise the election unless several conditions are met, such as the release of political prisoners.