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China raps 'external interference' in Venezuela after West's favorite barred from vote

Former ambassador Edmundo Gonzalez Urruti has been tapped by Venezuela's opposition Democratic Unitary Platform (PUD) to run in the July presidential election. 

China has condemned "external interference" in Venezuela's elections by the US and France after Caracas decided to bar a pro-West opposition candidate from July's presidential vote.

“We respect Venezuela’s national and sovereign independence, support Venezuela in advancing the election in accordance with its constitution and laws, and oppose external interference in Venezuela’s internal affairs,” said Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Lin Jian. 

Venezuela's opposition Democratic Unitary Platform (PUD) this week registered former ambassador Edmundo Gonzalez Urruti to face off against President Nicolas Maduro in the presidential election. 

The registration drew fire from the US and France after their favorite opposition candidate Maria Corina Machado was disqualified and her replacement Corina Yoris was unable to sign up for the vote. 

The PUD, however, did manage to enroll Urruti as a “provisional candidate”, but it did not sit well with French President Emmanuel Macron. 

“We very firmly condemn the exclusion of a serious and credible candidate from this process,” said Macron.

A day earlier, Washington had alleged that the electoral council only accepted “opposition candidates with whom Maduro and his representatives feel comfortable.”

The move ran “counter to competitive and inclusive elections that the Venezuelan people and international community will view as legitimate,” said State Department spokesman Matthew Miller.

The US imposed harsh sanctions on Venezuela to punish Maduro’s government following his 2018 re-election - a result which the US and other Western governments refused to accept. 

Since 2019, US sanctions have banned state-run oil company PDVSA from exporting to its chosen markets.

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