CARACAS (Reuters) – Venezuela’s opposition plastered election centers with slogans and rallied in honor of dead protesters on Monday in a final week-long push to force President Nicolas Maduro into aborting a controversial congress.
The unpopular leftist leader is pressing ahead with the vote for a Constitutional Assembly on Sunday despite the opposition of most Venezuelans, a crescendo of international criticism, and some dissent within his ruling Socialist Party.
Critics say the assembly, whose election rules appear designed to ensure a majority for Maduro, is intended to institutionalize dictatorship in the South American nation, a member of OPEC.
But Maduro, 54, whose term runs until early 2019, insists it is the only way to empower the people and bring peace after four months of anti-government unrest that has killed more than 100 people and further hammered an imploding economy. …