Former Venezuelan congresswoman and one of the fiercest critics of President Nicolas Maduro's government, Maria Corina Machado, has been barred from public office for a year, which can prevent her from taking her seat in congress if she wins the parliamentary elections again in December.
Machado, who is known for her pro-western political views and in the past years has become one of the most noticeable figures of the opposition, did not say why she was barred from political office nor did the comptroller’s office comment on the issue.
She called President Maduro to resign last year and has been involved in organising bloody street protests against the government since 2014. Machado is accused by the state prosecutor’s office of conspiring to assassinate President Maduro.
Machado has been given 15 days to appeal against the decision. On Tuesday, Machado stated that comptroller’s order is the very evidence of the government’s dictatorship-like rule and added that she and her supporters are the majority in Venezuela and will be winning the upcoming elections.
Opposition parties have accused the Caracas government of intimidating opposition ahead of the elections. Another opposition figure, former Mayor Daniel Ceballos, who is also running for parliament, was also barred from holding public office. However, on the contrary, Venezuelan media said the reason Ceballos was prohibited was for not presenting a sworn wealth declaration.
Machado was stripped of her seat in the National Assembly last year once she accepted an invitation from Panama to speak at the Organization of American States (OAS) to tell her story regarding upsurge of unrest spread through Venezuela in 2014.