CARACAS (Reuters) – Venezuelan two-time presidential candidate Henrique Capriles on Wednesday urged the country’s opposition to participate in elections for governors and mayors in November, following boycotts of two major elections in the last three years.
Adversaries of President Nicolas Maduro sat out the 2018 vote that led to his disputed re-election and the 2020 congressional vote, on the grounds that the elections were rigged in favor of the ruling Socialist Party.
Capriles said the opposition, which as a group has not yet said if it will participate in the vote, now faces a different set of circumstances, including a recently named elections council that includes opposition-leaning directors.
“We have to go (vote) on November 21, we cannot renounce our rights,” he told reporters in a news conference. “There are also millions of Venezuelans who want to express themselves.”
Opposition leader Juan Guaido has been in talks with other political leaders regarding whether they should field candidates in the election and under what conditions they could do so.
Guaido in 2019 was recognized by the United States and dozens of other countries as Venezuela’s legitimate president as part of a U.S.-backed effort to force Maduro’s ouster. But Maduro has hung on despite U.S. sanctions and an economic collapse.
Some parts of the opposition, including Capriles and his allies, have moved toward accepting that Maduro will remain in power in the short term and that the opposition should seek regional posts rather than only focusing on the presidency.
A delegation of opposition leaders on Friday is slated to begin talks with Maduro allies in Mexico that are expected to include discussion of electoral conditions.
(Reporting by Brian Ellsworth and Deisy Buitrago; editing by Jonathan Oatis)