CARACAS, Venezuela — Venezuela’s ruling socialist party has officially tapped President Nicolas Maduro as its candidate for this year’s election.

Socialist party chief Diosdado Cabello on Friday announced the unanimous decision. The government has said the election will be held by the end of April.

Maduro succeeded the late President Hugo Chavez, leading the oil-rich country into a deepening crisis marked by soaring inflation and shortages of food and medicine.

The United States says it will reject the “snap” election. Several Latin America countries condemned holding a vote before Maduro’s government and its political opposition complete negotiations aimed at resolving the crisis.

Venezuela’s opposition coalition hasn’t selected a candidate or decided if it will participate.

Maduro says that in his second term he’ll wean Venezuela’s economy off of oil production.