According a February 7 post if elections are to be celebrated March 17 for a new president the end of the Chavez era must be announced this week, say, tomorrow at the latest.... Announcement next week almost pushes elections to sometime in April with a cumbersome Easter Week holiday in between not propitious for campaigning for the regime who needs all on duty to distribute the stuff to buy votes. In other words, May 5. Stay tuned for the next 48 HOURS!!!!!
Update. Maybe I dashed this note a tad too fast. Of course this prediction as explained earlier is based on the presumption that chavismo will 1) stick to a minimum of legalese to make the election believable and 2) that their internal succession problems are sorted out.
Unfortunately for them (I hope for us), the devaluation of last Friday may mean that they need money to buy votes. That implies that until the devaluation effects take place and that they can pay off some of the internal debts to keep people happy and vote for them, it will require at least a couple of months. Then May 5 would be the earliest date that they are contemplating (assuming they can keep Chavez alive). If they indeed use the devaluation to pay off wages and related public sector debt then it makes sense to try to wait until May for a vote but no latter because the economic problems linked to inflation will start to be noted by the populace as soon as late April....
At any rate, considering that municipal elections are called for July the only thing we can be sure is that presidential elections will be mid June at the latest. So this is the current calendar
March 17: Chavez era ends this week [This is my rational first pick because that date they are still certain to win]
Late April or May 5: at least three weeks of campaign after Easter week holiday. They have sorted their shit and remove Chavez mid March while paying all their debts then increasing minimal wage and old age pensions. The early April primaries would be a test run for the general election.
Late May to mid June: they are in trouble and need to gain time. The PSUV primaries become all important because they could decide whether Maduro will be the candidate. [This is my second pick because I think that the internal trouble is getting worse by the day and they are nowhere close to solve it, not at least until that devaluation fresh cash flows in and primaries settle scores. But by then the opposition chances start to grow]