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Venezuela’s Democratic Hopes Dim as Opposition Is Blocked From National Vote

First, it was María Corina Machado, a popular former legislator. Then, it was supposed to be Corina Yoris, a little-known philosophy professor. But now, an opposition coalition has been blocked from fielding any candidate to run against President Nicolás Maduro in elections scheduled in July.

The coalition of opposing political parties, the Democratic Unity Roundtable, had hoped that uniting behind a single candidate would make it a viable challenger to Mr. Maduro.

But on Monday, a national electoral commission controlled by allies of Mr. Maduro used a technical maneuver to prevent the coalition from putting a candidate on the ballot. It was the last day for presidential candidates to register for the July vote.

As a result Mr. Maduro, whose repressive rule has left Venezuela in financial ruin and helped push out roughly one-fourth of its population, is increasingly likely to hold onto power.

The Democratic Unity Roundtable announced last week that it had agreed to put forward Ms. Yoris, 80, to run against Mr. Maduro in a show of unity after the country’s highest court in January had barred Ms. Machado from the ballot. The former lawmaker was widely considered to be a significant threat to Mr. Maduro.

The naming of Ms. Yoris briefly raised hopes that a free and fair election might be possible. But as the week progressed Ms. Yoris said she was unable to access the digital platform set up by the country’s electoral authority to register as a candidate.

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