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María Corina Machado sweeps Venezuelan opposition primaries and promises to remove Maduro in 2024

Former deputy María Corina Machado achieved a resounding victory in the opposition primaries held this Sunday in Venezuela by garnering over 93% of the votes. Machado now aspires to be the unity candidate who will confront Chavismo in the 2024 presidential elections

October 23, 2023 9:39am

Updated: October 24, 2023 8:20pm

Former National Assembly member María Corina Machado achieved a resounding lead in the opposition primaries held this Sunday in Venezuela, garnering over 93% of the votes

Machado, who has technically been banned from holding office is determined to accept the nomination as the country's unity candidate who will confront a PSUV candidate in the upcoming 2024 presidential elections.

Many suspect that candidate will be President Nicolas Maduro who has held power since 2013 ever since the death of his communist predecessor, Hugo Chavez. 

The opposition's efforts against the Maduro regime have pose a risk to candidates such as Machado. Some of the opposition candidates who have run in the past were arrested or banned from future elections, prompting others to boycott the last presidential election. 

This round however, they have decided to join forces and hold a 2024 election poll as a means of proving to the world that Maduro does not have the high popularity ratings some past election results have suggested. 

Machado is hoping the ban against her formally running as a candidate will be removed before the actual presidential election. The ban was imposed in June by the country's comptroller general who is a political ally of Maduro.

"In 2024, we will win the presidential election, we will remove Nicolás Maduro and his regime, and begin the country's reconstruction," Machado said before thousands of supporters on Sunday night, after learning of the preliminary results of the non-binding opposition primaries.

With 26% of the ballots counted, Machado had secured 552,430 votes out of a total of 601,110 ballots counted at that point. Her closest rival, Carlos Prosperi, had only reached 4.75%.

While the official participation figure remains undisclosed, independent estimates suggest that around 2 million Venezuelans cast their votes on Sunday, depleting the 3 million printed ballots.

Machado confronts the challenge of a political "disqualification" imposed by Chavismo until 2030, effectively barring her from running in 2024. Nonetheless, the female leader is resolute that this penalty will be overturned.

With this substantial backing in the primaries, Machado has fortified her position as the foremost figure of the opposition and as a beacon of hope for defeating the Chavismo movement in the impending presidential elections, mirroring the unmistakable yearning for change among the majority of Venezuelans.

Machado was banned from public office for 15 years after the comptroller accused her of corruption, although there has been no evidence to support the state's allegations. 

Her chances of getting the ban reversed came last week when it was announced that the U.S. signed a deal in Barbados to ease oil sanctions against the communist dictatorship in exchange for allowing to allow opposition representatives to have the 2024 election monitored by international observers.

The Maduro regime may be holding out hope it can keep Machado out of the election based on a technicality in the agreement with the U.S. that "the registration of all candidates that fulfill the constitutional requirement will be permitted."

Jorge Rodríguez, a negotiator for the regime said this did not apply to candidates who had already been barred by the comptroller general, which would include Machado.  

Still, the regime may not be able to keep her out of the race with brewing pressure from the United States.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken warned that the U.S.oil sanctions that were eased as part of the recent agreement could easily be reinstated if the Maduro regime continues to ban opposition candidates from the ballot.