Venezuela

Venezuela’s Nicolás Maduro thwarts main opposition candidates ahead of election

Author: Editors Desk Source: Financial Times
March 26, 2024 at 14:29
Nicolás Maduro, a former bus driver, has ruled over Venezuela since 2013 © Federico Parra/AFP/Getty Images
Nicolás Maduro, a former bus driver, has ruled over Venezuela since 2013 © Federico Parra/AFP/Getty Images

Socialist president clears the way for re-election in July vote

Venezuela’s president Nicolás Maduro appears to have cleared the field of his strongest challengers for the July election after the main opposition candidate was banned and her stand-in was unable to register.

Revolutionary socialist Maduro, a former bus driver who has ruled since 2013, has presided over an economic collapse in the country. About three-quarters of the once-wealthy oil-exporting nation’s gross domestic product has been lost during Maduro’s presidency, triggering the exodus of 7.7mn people as the economy declines and violent crime rises.

The ruling United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV) has nevertheless confirmed that Maduro will be its candidate for a fresh six-year term.

Corina Yoris, the person most likely to mount an effective challenge to Maduro in the presidential election, complained on Monday that she had been unable to register her candidacy ahead of a midnight deadline.

“My rights as a Venezuelan citizen are being violated by not letting me enter the [computer] system and register my candidacy for the presidency of Venezuela,” Yoris told a news conference.

Yoris, an 80-year-old university professor who was previously unknown politically, was named at the weekend as the candidate for the main opposition grouping, the Unitary Platform, after the Maduro government ratified a ban on María Corina Machado standing. Machado is a longtime Maduro critic who won an overwhelming opposition primary victory last year. 

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