Corina Llores: Venezuelan opposition candidate was banned from running in the elections

  • Written by Vanessa Buchschlotter
  • BBC News

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Corinna Joris was nominated as a DUP candidate on Friday, but was unable to register

The main opposition coalition in Venezuela said that its candidate was banned from running in the presidential elections scheduled for next July.

The opposition Unionist Platform Party said it was unable to access the website of the Electoral Council to register its candidate, Corinna Joris.

This is the latest setback for the National Unity Party, whose leader, Maria Corina Machado, was banned from running for president.

Opinion polls indicate that if the elections are free and fair, Machado could defeat President Nicolas Maduro.

President Maduro did not face any problems in registering his candidacy for a third consecutive term in office.

Macron celebrated a rally in the capital, Caracas, where he was greeted by supporters who wore the red color associated with his United Socialist Party.

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Nicolas Maduro organized a massive rally after registering his candidacy for a third term

Twelve people from a variety of small parties were also able to field candidates, some of whom are allied with the government and none of whom are believed to be serious challengers to President Maduro.

Among those who were able to register was the governor of Zulia state, Manuel Rosales, of the Un Tiempo Nuevo (New Era) party.

He surprised many when he introduced himself at the last minute, apparently without the knowledge of the Union for Unity and Democracy coalition of which Un Tiempo Nuevo is a part.

When asked if the opposition Democratic Unionist Party (UDP) would now rally around Rosales, Machado simply replied: “My candidate is Corina Llores.”

Ms. Machado said that by preventing Ms. Llores from registering, President Maduro had effectively “chosen” who he would run against. “They are not [free] “The elections are if the regime chooses the candidates,” she said.

Machado, 56, made headlines in October when the divided opposition united behind her. It obtained more than 90% of the votes in the primary elections organized by the opposition.

President Maduro's government has denounced the primaries as illegitimate, and authorities have targeted Ms. Machado and members of her Venezuela party since her landslide victory.

Many regional campaign officials have been imprisoned over the past months.

Just last week, arrest warrants were issued for her campaign manager and eight other staffers, who are accused of participating in a plot to overthrow President Maduro.

María Corina Machado herself was subjected to a ban preventing her from running for public office, which the Supreme Court, full of government loyalists, confirmed.

President Maduro, in power since 2013, has withstood international pressure to allow Ms. Machado to run in presidential elections scheduled for July 28.

“We will win by hook or by crook, we will always win,” he told supporters last month.

With the deadline for candidate registration approaching and the ban on Machado continuing, the Democratic Unionist Party on Friday chose Corina Llores to replace her.

Joris, an 80-year-old academic, is relatively unknown even in opposition circles. The coalition viewed the fact that she is a newcomer to politics as an asset, and said this made it difficult for her opponents to discredit her.

However, she has already had to refute claims that she was born outside Venezuela, which would have made her ineligible for the presidency.

But when it came to registering her candidacy by the Monday evening deadline, the opposition coalition reached an impasse.

In videos uploaded to social media, the PYD showed how they repeatedly tried and failed to log into the electoral board's website to register Ms. Joris' candidacy.

The personal request to the Electoral Council to extend the deadline was rejected.

Ms. Joris said her rights as a Venezuelan citizen had been “violated” by being prevented from registering.

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