Three of Venezuela’s largest opposition parties vowed on Monday to boycott mayoral polls later this year in protest at an election system they say is biased in favor of President Nicolas Maduro’s ruling socialists. The multi-party Democratic Unity coalition has had a tough 2017, first failing to bring down Maduro in four months of protests that led to 125 deaths, then losing surprisingly to the Socialist Party in a gubernatorial election earlier this month. That has left the opposition weakened and divided, and Maduro strengthened, despite growing foreign pressure on his government over alleged rights abuses and corruption, and an unprecedented economic crisis that has millions skipping food. Three heavyweight movements in the opposition – Justice First, Popular Will and Democratic Action – announced on Monday they did not trust the government-leaning election board sufficiently to participate in the municipal polls in December.
Justice First leader Julio Borges, who also heads the opposition-led congress, said authorities cheated in the 2013 presidential election, denied Venezuelans a recall referendum last year, and rigged the Oct. 15 gubernatorial vote.
So instead of going into another “manipulated” vote, the opposition should focus on demanding reforms to the election board in anticipation of next year’s presidential poll, he said.
Full Article: Major Venezuelan opposition parties to boycott local polls.