Latin America & Caribbean

Venezuela opposition leader quits as coalition rift widens

Venezuelan opposition leader and Miranda state governor Henrique Capriles during a press conference with members of the opposition coalition Democratic Unity Roundtable (MUD) in Caracas, 30 July 2017 Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Henrique Capriles said the opposition MUD coalition was no longer unified

Venezuela's opposition has taken a hit after one of its leading members announced he was leaving the coalition.

Henrique Capriles, an ex-presidential candidate, said the move was in protest at the decision by four newly elected opposition governors to pledge allegiance to the constituent assembly.

The Roundtable for Democracy (MUD) regards the assembly as illegitimate.

The MUD governors were elected in regional polls this month in which the government won 18 out of 23 states.

The outcome of the 15 October elections, which it said were fraudulent - and President Nicolas Maduro's insistence that all new governors bow to the constituent assembly - has caused a rift among members of the opposition coalition.

Mr Capriles said on Tuesday that he "would not be part" of the opposition MUD "because it is not unity as a concept or a vision".

"It is just some people that grab the bones that are thrown to them," he said.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Four opposition governors pledged allegiance to the constituent assembly on Monday

Five MUD governors who won seats opted to boycott a previous event in which 18 newly elected socialist governors were sworn in to the constituent assembly.

However, four of them - the governors for Táchira, Mérida, Nuevo Esparta and Anzoátegui - later changed their stance and pledged allegiance, defying their coalition's official position.

Mr Maduro, who has described the election result as a victory, said governors who refused to be sworn in by the constituent assembly would not be allowed to take up office.

The MUD have published what they say is evidence of fraud in the state of Bolívar, where the government candidate was declared the winner after a two-day delay.

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