CARACAS, Venezuela — President Nicolas Maduro called on his wife and other heavyweights in the ruling socialist party Thursday night to lead the government’s campaign to rewrite the constitution.

Maduro said first lady Cilia Flores as well as his foreign minister and other top aides will lead a slate of candidates competing for seats in a special assembly that is to rewrite the constitution.

Earlier, party leader Diosdado Cabello said he would resign his seat in congress to be eligible to run as well.

The opposition accuses Maduro of trying to avoid elections and complains that rules to select delegates to the constitutional assembly heavily favor the government.

The move comes as anti-government protests enter their third month and international pressure builds on Maduro to cede power to the opposition.

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