Opposition parties barred from elections in Venezuela
CARACAS, Aug. 8 (Xinhua) -- Venezuela's National Electoral Council decided on Tuesday to bar the opposition coalition, the Democratic Unity Roundtable (MUD), from running in seven of 23 states for regional elections in December.
In a report, the CNE says the MUD "must abstain from presenting candidates in Zulia, Apure, Monagas, Bolivar, Trujillo, Aragua and Carabobo, in compliance with legal judgments granted in these state."
The seven states in question are run by the official ruling coalition, and have found irregularities in a petition presented by the MUD to call a recall referendum against President Nicolas Maduro in 2016.
A number of political parties including the MUD had announced their candidacies recently, including Popular Will (VP), whose leader Freddy Guevara is under investigation for encouraging "violent acts" during opposition protests.
Other MUD parties including Democratic Action, A New Time, Justice First and Progressive Advance had also said they would prepare candidacies in the seven states confirmed.
The CNE is renewing the credentials of political parties this week, ahead of the elections.
Venezuela's Supreme Court (TSJ) on Tuesday found Ramon Muchacho, the opposition mayor of Chacao in the northern state of Miranda, guilty on the charge of civil disobedience and sentenced him to 15 months in prison.
The TSJ's Constitutional Court held an audience of over six hours on the case against Muchacho, who refused to heed orders to clear highways leading to Caracas during violent anti-government protests.
Muchacho is part of a group of opposition mayors being investigated for colluding in blocking public highways with trees and trash for over four months during protests by the opposition MUD.
The blockading of highways has been a common tactic by the MUD, in at least five of Venezuela's 23 state capitals.
The whereabouts of Muchacho are not currently known and he previously failed to appear on two previous court occasions.
The TSJ ordered the Bolivarian Intelligence Service to emit a "red alert" with Interpol for the immediate arrest of Muchacho.
Writing on Twitter, Muchacho said that "the weight of revolutionary injustice has fallen on my shoulders."
"We are being condemned for doing our job, for guaranteeing the legitimate right to peaceful protest and the right of all Venezuelans to exercise their civil and political rights," he later wrote to supporters in an email.