Caracas: Venezuelan opposition politician Maria Corina Machado said Monday officials refused to register her as a candidate for the country`s December legislative elections after she was controversially banned from public office.
Machado, one of the leaders of anti-government protests that shook Venezuela last year, was notified by leftist President Nicolas Maduro`s government on July 13 that she was banned from holding public office for one year.
That did not stop her from showing up at the elections commission Monday to register as a candidate for the December 6 vote, in which Maduro`s United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV) risks losing the National Assembly for the first time since its founder, late leftist firebrand Hugo Chavez, came to power in 1999.
"The regime has taken another step in its onslaught against me. They don`t want to let me put my name forward as a deputy in the National Assembly," said Machado after her registration was rejected.
Machado previously served in the National Assembly from 2011 to 2014, when she was expelled in a vote pushed through by the PSUV.
After her expulsion, Machado was interrogated as a suspect in an alleged coup plot against Maduro.
With Venezuela`s economy in recession, oil revenues plunging, crime soaring and consumers facing chronic shortages of basic goods, Maduro`s approval rating has sunk in recent months.
Polls indicate the PSUV is trailing the Democratic Unity Roundtable (MUD) ahead of the vote.
But Maduro`s government is accused of cracking down on the opposition. Machado`s fellow protest leaders Leopoldo Lopez and Daniel Ceballos have been imprisoned since the 2014 demonstrations, which rocked the country for several months and ended with 43 people dead.