Venezuela pushes back opposition-favored regional elections

Venezuela has postponed until next year gubernatorial elections the opposition is heavily favored to win.

The government-stacked electoral council on Tuesday said that elections in 23 states that were slated to take place before year's end will now be held at an unspecified date near the middle of 2017.

The move was immediately denounced by the opposition as unconstitutional. Authorities didn't provide an explanation for the new date but presented it as part of a broader schedule for elections next year.

The opposition won control of the legislature last year in a landslide and is seeking to mount a recall referendum to unseat President Nicolas Maduro. Polls show the majority of Venezuelans heavily favor cutting short Maduro's term and show almost double approval ratings for the opposition.