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Venezuela Opposition Leaders Say December Parliamentary Election Rigged to Help Maduro

Opposition leader Juan Guaido waves to supporters during a rally at Bolivar Plaza in Chacao, Venezuela, Feb. 11, 2020. Guaido returned home from a tour of nations that back his effort to oust socialist leader Nicolas Maduro.

A showdown that could determine if Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro will solidify his grip on power is set for early December. The opposition is already rejecting the December 6 poll as a sham, which favors Maduro's ruling Socialist Party.

Opposition leaders say Maduro is maneuvering to end rival opposition politician Juan Guaido's leadership of the legislative body.

Guaido is considered Venezuela's leader by several countries, including the United States, following Maduro's disputed 2018 re-election. Guaido has also led unsuccessful efforts supported by the United States to remove Maudro from office.

During a televised address Wednesday, Maduro seemed to reference Guaido, without mentioning his name. He said, "Venezuela needs a new National Assembly, legit and constitutional. Maduro then expressed confidence in the outcome of the upcoming vote, saying, he is already imagining, January 5, 2021, Federal Legislative Palace, the lawmakers elected by the people arrive and a new National Assembly is born."

Maduro also urged voters to turn out in large numbers, and he said election officials assured him they will take measures to ensure a safe voting process amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.