Venezuelan opposition to compete in local, regional elections in November

Caracas, Aug 31 (EFE).- Venezuela’s multi-faceted opposition, including the sector headed by Juan Guaido, announced Tuesday that it will field candidates in the local and regional elections scheduled for Nov. 21 after refusing to participate in the legislative vote last December contending that the election would be invalid due to “fraud.”

“We announce to the national and international community our participation in the regional and municipal (elections) on Nov. 21, 2021, under the name of the Democratic Unity Party (MUD),” Un Nuevo Tiempo opposition party activist Marianela Anzola said, reading from the statement issued by the grouping.

Anzola was accompanied at the formal announcement by several opposition leaders, including Henry Ramos Allup, the head of the democratic socialist Democratic Action (AD) party, and Tomas Guanipa, with Primero Justicia (PJ), the organization to which two-time presidential candidate Henrique Capriles belongs.

Venezuela’s National Electoral Council authorized MUD on June 29 – after it had been disqualified from political participation in 2018 – and it now includes a large portion of anti-Chavista political figures and won the 2015 legislative elections.

MUD is the largest coalition formed by the diverse groups opposing the government of Nicolas Maduro and has brought together the AD and the PJ, as well as Voluntad Popular (VP) headed by Leopoldo Lopez and of which Guaido has been a member for almost his entire political career, as well as the UNT, which is also defined as a democratic socialist organization.

Also included in the MUD are smaller opposition forces such as La Causa R and Bandera Roja.

The group made the decision to field candidates in the November elections “after an extensive and difficult process of internal deliberation that had the participation of local, regional and national leaders.”

“We are motivated by the difficult situation our country is going through, the sense of urgency in finding permanent solutions to our sufferings and the goal of strengthening unity,” the group said.

The opposition leaders explained that the elections will not be “fair or conventional,” given that there are “serious obstacles that put at risk the Venezuelan people’s expression (of their desire) for change.”

“However, we understand that (the elections) will be a useful battleground to strengthen the citizenry and to push for a real solution to our country’s serious crisis: free presidential and legislative elections,” the group emphasized.

Thus, the opposition groups said that the vote is an opportunity to organize, mobilize and strengthen themselves “in the service of Venezuela’s democratic reinstitutionalization.”

The decision to take part in the election “complements the efforts that are under way in Mexico,” where the government and the opposition launched negotiations “and are heading for a peaceful and negotiated solution.”

Capriles has already expressed his support for voting in the Nov. 21 elections, although Guaido so far has remained reticent on that score.


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