Attempts by Venezuela's opposition coalition, the Democratic Unity Roundtable (MUD), to boycott the presidential elections in Venezuela have unraveled as one of its members, former Lara state governor Henri Falcon, officially registered his candidacy on Tuesday, prompting the MUD coalition to expel him.
The MUD, which had backed out of a dialogue with the government held in the Dominican Republic last month to reach a Democratic Coexistence Agreement, said Falcon's candidacy validated “a fraudulent electoral system.”
“With this step, @HenriFalconLara departs from the Unity and the democratic sentiment of the Venezuelan people. We can’t validate a fraudulent electoral system. We call all of Venezuela to continue fighting for democratic change. We are going to make it!,” the MUD said on Twitter Wednesday.
Falcon justified his decision to run saying he represents “the millions of Venezuelans who want a peaceful, constitutional, democratic and electoral solution.”
After registering his candidacy for the elections, Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro insisted that on April 22 there will be presidential elections “with or without the opposition.”
Meanwhile, the MUD published a letter addressing the Venezuelan president, laying out the conditions for their participation in the upcoming elections. The opposition coalition demands a date that would guarantee electoral applications, a confirmation of the attendance of a United Nations observation mission and necessary audits to the electoral registry.
They have, however, failed to propose an alternative date.
In its efforts to guarantee a democratic and transparent process, the Venezuelan government has invited U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres to form an international mission to observe the process, while reopening the Venezuelan consulate in Miami to ensure Venezuelans residing in Florida can register to vote as well as announcing 14 different audits to the electoral system.
Six people have registered as candidates for the April 22 elections: current president Nicolas Maduro, Falcon, Reinaldo Quijada, Francisco Visconti, Luis Alejandro Ratti, and the evangelical pastor Javier Bertucci.
Also, the National Electoral Council, or CNE, announced on Tuesday that due to requests by political actors they will extend the registration period for candidates by 48 hours.