Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro has ruled out holding early elections amid calls from opposition groups for him to resign.
In a TV address, Nicolas Maduro said “nobody should get obsessed with electoral processes that are not in the constitution”.
The president’s comment comes a day after the government and opposition groups agreed on a road map to resolve Venezuela’s political and economic crisis.
President Maduro’s term ends in early 2019.
The opposition blames him and his government for the dire state of Venezuela’s economy.
Venezuela is suffering from sky-high inflation and there are shortages of many basic goods, including medical supplies.
According to a recent poll, more than three-quarters of Venezuelans are unhappy with Nicolas Maduro’s leadership.
However, an attempt by the opposition to organize a referendum to oust Nicolas Maduro from office has stalled after the Supreme Court ruled that there had been fraud during the early stages of the process.
The move caused outrage among opposition groups which then began to call for early elections as an alternative way to remove Nicolas Maduro from his post.
Speaking on his weekly TV program on November 13, Nicolas Maduro asked: “An electoral way out? Way out to where?”
Negotiators for the opposition Democratic Unity Roundtable (MUD) and the government met on November 11 for two days of Vatican-backed talks on how to end the political and economic crisis.
They released a joint statement in which they pledged to “live together in peace” and laid out a road map on how to defuse the situation.
While there was no mention of early elections in the joint statement, opposition lead negotiator Carlos Ocariz later announced that the MUD coalition would stay at the negotiating table only until it obtained early elections or a recall referendum.
After ruling out early elections, Nicolas Maduro mocked Carlos Ocariz’s statement saying that “it makes me very happy that the MUD will continue in the dialogue until December 2018”.
December 2018 is when the next presidential election is due to be held if no early polls are called.
The next round of talks between the opposition and the government is scheduled for December 6.
However, a number of opposition leaders have already called for protests, which had been halted as a sign of goodwill ahead of the talks, to resume.