The Latest: Venezuelan court orders jail for another mayor
CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) — The latest on the political crisis in Venezuela (all times local):
Venezuela’s government-packed Supreme Court has ordered the removal and imprisonment of another Caracas-area mayor for not obeying orders to shut down protests in his district.
David Smolansky is the fifth opposition mayor to be removed or jailed in little more than two weeks as President Nicolas Maduro attempts to consolidate his power by going after his enemies.
He was sentenced to 15 months in jail in a ruling Wednesday night.
The whereabouts of Smolansky, the mayor of El Hatillo district, were not immediately known. The former student activist had been one of the most-prominent leaders of four months of anti-government protests that have left at least 124 people dead and hundreds more injured or jailed.
Leaders with an alliance of Venezuela’s opposition parties say they will participate in upcoming regional elections in a bid to stop President Nicolas Maduro from further consolidating his power.
Speaking on behalf of the Democratic Unity RoundTable, Andres Velasquez said the coalition would meet the National Electoral Council’s deadline to sign up candidates by Wednesday night.
Council officials scrapped last year’s scheduled elections of governors that Venezuela’s ruling party had been expected to lose. The elections are now scheduled for December, though a new, all-powerful constitutional assembly could still cancel the vote.
Other opposition leaders are vowing not to participate in the elections, arguing there is bound to be fraud. An election for delegates to the constitutional assembly was fraught with accusations of vote tampering.