efe-epaCaracas

Venezuela's main opposition coalition, the Democratic Unity Roundtable (MUD), said Wednesday that it will not participate in the April 22 presidential election unless the government makes substantial changes to the process.

"Do not count on Democratic Unity or the people to endorse what is so far just a fraudulent and illegitimate simulation of a presidential election," MUD political coordinator Angel Oropeza told a press conference.

Reading from an eight-point statement, Oropeza challenged incumbent President Nicolas Maduro, who is seeking another term, to "test himself against the people in genuine elections."

He said that MUD would be ready to participate in the ballot under the conditions opposition representatives set forth last December during talks with the Maduro administration in the Dominican Republic.

Those conditions include "the carrying out of an election during the second half of 2018, the creation of a balanced National Electoral Council ... and the reversal of exclusions of parties and leaders," Oropeza said.

The latest round of negotiations in Santo Domingo ended without agreement after MUD refused to sign a draft accord accepted by the leftist government.

Oropeza urged "all social sectors in the country to constitute a great Broad National Front" to serve as an "effective mechanism for organizing and articulating social and political forces."

He said that the organization would revolve around the idea of securing "clean and competitive elections this year" and formulating the "basic proposals of the program of a government of unity and national reconstruction."