CARACAS – Venezuela’s opposition, gathered within the MUD coalition, announced on Wednesday its decision to register candidates for the Dec. 10 regional elections, contests that are to be held in accord with the Constitution.
“We’ve agreed by consensus to pre-register candidates for the regional elections established ... by the regime since last year,” said opposition leader Andres Velasquez at a press conference at which he read a statement issued by MUD.
MUD made the announcement “after a consultation process” and despite the fact that election authorities have prohibited it from fielding candidates in seven of the country’s 23 states.
According to the document, this step of registering candidates is being accompanied “by the decision to increase the pressure from the street, the social pressure, the international pressure and the rest of the tools of politics,” given that MUD’s objective continues to be to effect a change in government and get the Nicolas Maduro administration out of power.
The opposition also said that the pre-registration process was being undertaken “as a way to force elections to be held,” since this has been one of the “main elements” of the anti-government protests over the past four months that have cost “so much pain and blood.”
“We understand this challenge as a form of combat,” Velasquez said.
He recalled that MUD’s strategy is to “fight for free elections, respect for the National Assembly, the release of prisoners of conscience, a humanitarian channel for food and medicine and the disarmament of the government’s paramilitary groups.”
The announcement was made a few hours before the deadline for registering candidates for the regional elections.
Velasquez also announced that the coalition is “debating the mandate of July 16,” the date on which a consultative process was held to oppose the Constituent Assembly installed last Friday, which is tasked with drafting a new constitution.