The Venezuelan opposition hopes that the anti-Maduro candidate will be successful for the third time

First, it was María Corina Machado, a popular former lawmaker. At that time it was supposed to be Corina Yoris, a little-known philosophy professor. Now an opposition coalition has proposed a former diplomat, Edmundo González, as the third candidate in elections scheduled for July against President Nicolás Maduro.

At least for now.

The coalition of opposing political parties, the Democratic Unity Roundtable, has been hoping for months to unite behind a single candidate who could be a viable challenger to Mr. Maduro.

But as the rapidly changing lineup of potential candidates makes clear, the Maduro government has erected a number of obstacles to prevent this goal.

On Monday, a national electoral commission controlled by allies of Mr. Maduro used a technical maneuver to prevent the coalition from putting Ms. Yoris on the ballot. It was the last day for presidential candidates to register to vote in July, and it appeared that efforts to field a unified candidate had failed.

Then, on Tuesday afternoon, the coalition announced on the directors’ social media platform.

If you put Mr. González on the ballot, the opposition turned out to be about a quarter of his population.

“This opens the door to a stronger starting point for the rest of the opposition to negotiate what is going to happen,” said Tamara Taraciuk Broner, who researches Venezuela for the Inter-American Dialogue, a Washington-based organization. “Overall it’s good news”

The provisional candidacy of Mr González – who could only act as a placeholder and the parties had the opportunity to exchange alternatives over the next few weeks – was just the latest in a series of whiplash-inducing developments over who he would face Mr Maduro in the vote in July.

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

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

Every authorized political organization in Venezuela will receive a code to access the electoral platform. But both Ms. Yoris’ party, A New Era, and the Democratic Unity Roundtable coalition said their codes did not work, preventing them from registering Ms. Yoris.

“We have exhausted all options,” Ms. Yoris said in a news conference Monday morning. “The whole country has no choice if I can’t register.”

Confusion emerged throughout the day amid signs that the government was trying behind the scenes to manipulate the levers of power and create an electoral field that would give Mr. Maduro a better chance of winning.

Just minutes before the registration deadline, the New Era party was inexplicably allowed to register another candidate: Manuel Rosales, the party founder and governor of the populous state of Zulia, whose entry into the race was seen by political analysts as having approved Mr. Maduro.

Mr. Rosales, in a speech Tuesday before Mr. González’s registration was announced, said he intended to run a rigorous campaign and vowed to lead “the greatest voter revolt ever seen.”

Two more candidates registered on Monday, bringing the total number of candidates in the election to 13, including Mr. Maduro. Most are considered close to the president and none are considered serious challengers.

“There is no doubt that Maduro wants to choose who he wants to run against and is afraid to run against anyone who poses a threat to him,” Ms. Taraciuk Broner said.

It was not clear Tuesday why the government had allowed Mr. González to register and what that might mean for Mr. Rosales’ candidacy.

According to Rafael Uzcátegui, a sociologist and director of the Peace Laboratory, a human rights organization, the ongoing confusion over who is allowed to run and who is not is a deliberate tactic by the Maduro government to sow distrust among voters and divide the seat in Caracas.

In October, Mr. Maduro signed an agreement with the country’s opposition and agreed to work toward a free and fair presidential election. Mr. Maduro said he would hold elections later this year, and in return the United States lifted some economic sanctions as a sign of goodwill.

Days later, in a primary conducted by a commission without government involvement, Ms. Machado won more than 90 percent of the vote to elect an opposition candidate. The decisive results underscored her popularity and raised the prospect that she could beat Mr. Maduro in a general election.

Three months later, the country’s highest court, staffed by government loyalists, declared Ms. Machado ineligible to prosecute over financial irregularities that the judges said occurred during her time as a country lawmaker.

Six of Ms. Machado’s campaign aides have been arrested in recent weeks, and six others have arrest warrants and are in hiding. Men on motorcycles have attacked supporters of their events.

The government did not comment on the opposition’s efforts to register.

The country’s vice president, Delcy Rodríguez, announced on Sunday on X the creation of a state commission against fascism to counter threats from “power centers serving the global north.”

An unclassified one US intelligence report of February said that Mr. Maduro was likely to win the election and remain in power “due to his control over state institutions that influence the electoral process and his willingness to exercise his power.”

While the Maduro government had added allies to the electoral council, the intelligence report said it was “also trying to avoid blatant electoral fraud.”

Mr. Maduro, after registering to vote on Monday, claimed without evidence that two members of Ms. Machado’s party tried to kill him that afternoon during a march celebrating his registration. The Come Venezuela party denies this.

In his remarks, he criticized opposition members and called them “lackeys of the right.”

“They have been committed to calling for sanctions against society and the economy, calling for the blockade and the invasion of their own country,” he said. “You don’t think for yourself; they do not act for themselves. They are pawns in the US empire’s game to take over Venezuela.”

“On July 28,” he added, referring to the opposition, “there will be elections with or without you.”

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