The Art of Technical Difficulties

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Venezuela’s main opposition coalition accused authorities of blocking its candidate from registering in the upcoming presidential elections, the latest setback for President Nicolas Maduro’s opponents who have been facing bans and arrests ahead of the July 28 vote, the BBC reported.

On Monday, the opposition Unitary Platform (PUD) said it was unable to access the electoral council’s website to register its presidential contender, Corina Yoris.

Yoris and her team alleged that they had repeatedly tried and failed to log into the council’s website. They added that they also visited the council in person to ask for an extension to the Monday deadline, but officials refused.

Yoris alleged that her rights as a Venezuelan citizen were “violated” by being blocked from registering, adding that the government was seeking to prevent the PUD and other opposition parties from registering their candidates, Bloomberg added.

Monday’s debacle marks the latest setback for the PUD, whose leader María Corina Machado has been barred from running for office and its party officials have been detained on various charges, including conspiracy to overthrow Maduro.

Machado made headlines last year when she won more than 90 percent of votes in the opposition primary election. But Venezuelan authorities criticized the vote as illegitimate.

With Machado’s ban still in place and the deadline approaching, the PUD picked Yoris as their candidate. The 80-year-old academic is relatively unknown in opposition circles, but observers noted that her opponents would have a harder time discrediting her.

Meanwhile, Maduro and nine other contenders were able to register their candidacy, including Zulia state governor Manuel Rosales of the opposition party A New Era.

Rosales previously lost to Maduro’s predecessor, the late Hugo Chávez, in the 2006 vote. He was once banned from running for office and his candidacy could still be blocked by the government, according to Bloomberg.

Many aspects of the presidential vote are still unclear: The government invited eight international groups, such as the Carter Center, the European Union, and the United Nations, to observe the elections, but none have yet confirmed their attendance.

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