Venezuelan opposition’s Gonzalez says the government would not have blocked the candidacy now if it had intended to do so

By Vivian Sequera and Mayela Armas

CARACAS (Reuters) – Venezuelan opposition candidate Edmundo Gonzalez said on Friday that if President Nicolas Maduro’s government intended to block his presidential bid by banning him from public office, it would have already taken the measure.

Gonzalez, 74, a former diplomat in Algeria and Argentina, was named last month by the opposition Unitary Platform coalition as a candidate for the July 28 presidential election, after landslide primary winner Maria Corina Machado was banned from holding office that was upheld by the Supreme Court. .

Opposition members and analysts have warned that the ruling party could take action to ban Gonzalez or prevent opposition parties from appearing on the ballot.

“They would have done it already,” Gonzalez told Reuters when asked if he thought he was facing a ban. “Once they accepted me, once they accepted another party that supported my candidacy, I don’t think there will be any problems,” Gonzalez said.

Gonzalez will appear on the ballot for three opposition parties, while Maduro will represent thirteen.

(Reporting by Vivian Sequera and Mayela Armas; Writing by Julia Symmes Cobb)