Venezuela's main opposition coalition, the Democratic Unity Roundtable (MUD), has publicly ousted former Lara Governor Henri Falcon from its ranks after the latter registered his candidacy Tuesday to run against President Nicolas Maduro in the April 22 presidential election.
"We repudiate Henri Falcon's unilateral registration this Tuesday 27/2. Venezuela demands unity and democracy," the MUD said in a tweet Wednesday.
Repudiamos la inscripción unilateral de @HenriFalconLara este martes 27.2. Venezuela reclama Unidad y Democracia
— Unidad Venezuela (@unidadvenezuela) February 28, 2018
"With this step, Henri Falcon separates himself from the MUD and from the democratic sentiment of the Venezuelan people," the right-wing coalition added.
Falcon, who announced his candidacy on state television, did so in defiance of the MUD whose leaders said last week they would boycott elections, calling them a "fraudulent, illegitimate" process.
Within the opposition, Falcon is viewed with suspicion due to his origins within the governing “Chavismo” movement, drawing the ire of the opposition's upper-middle class, hysterically anti-Chavista base, who consider him a traitor for conceding defeat in his bid for re-election in October 15 regional elections.
Before serving as governor of Lara state (2000-2008) on behalf of the ruling Chavista party, Falcon was an early supporter of former President Hugo Chavez, whom he met before the failed coup attempt in 1992.
He was elected as a representative for Lara State at the 1999 National Constituent Assembly. However, 10 years later, Falcon, often referred to as a “Chavista light”, parted from the socialist movement over the Venezuelan Constitutional Referendum and joined the Homeland for All party (PPT).
He was reelected as governor of Lara State as part of the MUD coalition in 2012 but notably failed last October to secure reelection, losing by a landslide to Chavista rival Carmen Melendez.
In 2012, he created his own party, the Progressive Advance party, who he will be representing for the upcoming presidential elections in alliance with the Movement Towards Socialism (MAS) party and the Christian Democrats (COPEI).
The Progressive Advance Party officially supported the candidacy of opposition leader Henrique Capriles against Hugo Chavez in the 2012 elections.
Edited and with additional reporting by Venezuelanalysis.com.