CARACAS, Venezuela – Venezuelan opposition leaders complained Thursday that electoral authorities allowed some candidates allied with President Hugo Chavez to switch voting districts and run in different states in December's gubernatorial elections.
Venezuela's opposition coalition said in a statement that six pro-Chavez candidates were permitted to change their districts after an April deadline passed. Opposition representative Vicente Bello said a total of 108 people have been permitted to change districts ahead of the Dec. 16 elections, including pro-Chavez gubernatorial candidates and their families and allies.
The National Electoral Council didn't immediately respond to the criticism.
Four of the electoral council's five members are widely perceived as favoring the president.
Vicente Diaz, the one council member often openly critical of the government, said in an interview with the radio station Union Radio that he disagreed with the decision taken by a majority of the council's members. He said the changes to candidates' voting districts were made "in an irregular way."
Leaders of Chavez's party could not be reached for comment.
Opposition leader Henrique Capriles, who was defeated by Chavez in the country's Oct. 7 presidential vote, strongly criticized the decision by the electoral council.
"What nerve!" Capriles said in a message on Twitter. "They do all these things so that we don't vote ... that's the objective of the gov't and its candidates."
Capriles is now running for re-election as governor of Miranda state. He called for opposition supporters to turn out in large numbers for the elections.