Venezuelas ruling socialists and some opposition parties have agreed to delay the presidential election by a month to the second half of May.
The agreement between the government of President Nicolas Maduro and several smaller opposition parties will give candidates more time to campaign, allow millions of Venezuelan exiles to register to vote abroad and pave the way for a jointly proposed team of electoral observers from the United Nations.
The main opposition coalition is boycotting the poll, saying it is a farce intended to legitimize a “dictatorship.”
Maduro is running for a second six-year term.
The decision to delay the vote was widely interpreted by critics of the government as an attempt to steamroll the deeply divided opposition coalition and throw it into disarray.
It comes amid an ever worsening economic and political crisis which has left many Venezuelans malnourished and has led hundreds of thousands to flee the country.
The U.S. has sanctioned dozens of top officials, including Maduro himself, and has called the snap election further proof of the president’s intention to dismantle Venezuela’s democracy.
The announcement of the delay comes as the Trump administration is reportedly considering even more sanctions. Reuters news service reported Thursday that the U.S. could target Venezuela’s military-run oil services company and restrict insurance coverage for Venezuelan oil shipments.
The sanctions are reportedly still under discussion, and could be implemented both before and after the election. Officials will consider how the measures would impact Venezuelan citizens.