If one Corinna is not allowed to participate, the Venezuelan opposition will choose another Corinna as its presidential candidate

If one Corinna is not allowed to participate, the Venezuelan opposition will choose another Corinna as its presidential candidate

“Corina square!” was heard late Friday afternoon at the office of Vente Venezuela, the party of opposition leader Maria Corina Machado. Loud applause broke out when the politician announced that 79-year-old academic and philosopher Corina Llores would be put forward as the opposition candidate in the upcoming presidential election – in which Machado himself is not allowed to participate. Emotional passers-by scramble to catch a glimpse of the Corinna duo.

Maria Corina Machado is the woman on whom many Venezuelans have pinned their hopes as the next leader, as demonstrated last year, when she achieved a landslide victory in the primaries in which the opposition jointly nominated a candidate. Maduro's government saw the danger and excluded her from participating in the vote scheduled for July 28, based on unclear and unproven corruption allegations.

“Everyone knows that I will not give up my fight against the injustice of being excluded by Maduro,” he added. “But Venezuela has the right to change. That's why we found the right person who can represent us in the elections.” “And that person is Corina Llores,” Machado says, emotion in her voice. “She is a respectable person, I trust her completely, and she is not excluded from participating. At least not at the moment,” Machado confirms.

Right party candidate

It has become increasingly clear in recent days that Machado will withdraw. She went to the pro-government Supreme Court, but that ruled her out for fifteen years. It seems that her chances for the presidency are over. Because the registration period for participation ends on Monday, the opposition had to nominate a new candidate.

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Many Venezuelans are eager for change now that authoritarian President Nicolas Maduro has ruled their country for more than a decade. According to the polls, Machado could easily defeat him. Although Machado is ideologically on the right side and has nothing to do with it Chavismo Political analysts are already comparing its appeal among the population to that of the charismatic former president Hugo Chavez, who died in 2013.

By coming forward now and giving her full support, the united opposition hopes to still have a chance in July. This Monday, they will first register Joris with the National Electoral Council (CNE). If that works, anything could happen between March and July. Maduro, who is already in full campaign mode, clearly has no intention of relinquishing power, as was clear from the exclusion of his rival.

The question now is whether the main opposition parties, now united, will also unanimously support “La Abuela” – the grandmother – as Corinna Lloris is called. The current consensus is new. In the past, the opposition has regularly been divided over the right course against Maduro, who has always managed to cleverly exploit this.

Repression escalated

If Uris is indeed on the ballot, it remains to be seen whether voters also approve of this change. Machado said she would convince Venezuelans by campaigning with Joris as Corinas.

In the meantime, she will also continue trying to fight and overturn the decision to disqualify her. Under the electoral law, parties may replace their candidates up to ten days before the presidential election. Machado pinned her hopes on the international community, especially the United States, which must decide next month whether to resume its oil sanctions on Venezuela.

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For a while it looked like transparent elections would be held in Venezuela, but then opposition politicians were violently shoved into a van.

The next four months will be crucial for Venezuela. Repression by the regime and pro-government institutions is being intensified. Last week, prosecutors ordered the arrest of key opposition members and those close to Machado, including her campaign manager. “We will continue until the end! These two women will fight Maduro.” Machado ended the meeting with determination, after which she took the hand of her namesake, more than twenty years her senior, and raised it in the air with a clenched fist.

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