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Venezuela opposition again without candidate as Yoris unable to register

By Vivian Sequera and Mayela Armas

CARACAS (Reuters) -Venezuela's opposition coalition was left without a candidate in the race for July's presidential elections after 80-year-old Corina Yoris was unable to register before the expiry of Monday's deadline.

Yoris was named as the opposition candidate last week by Maria Corina Machado, who won the opposition nominating contest by a landslide last year to run against incumbent President Nicolas Maduro, but has been banned from holding public office.

The opposition was unable to access the electoral authority's online system to register Yoris as a candidate, coalition head Omar Barboza said.

"They haven't let us get in," Barboza said early on Tuesday.

Neither Venezuela's information ministry nor its CNE electoral body immediately responded to a Reuters request for comment on whether Yoris was ineligible to run.

Two people close to Machado were arrested last week, causing outcry from Washington, which has already warned it will allow oil sanction relaxations to expire in April if the socialist government of Maduro does not allow free and fair elections.

In an interview on Monday, Yoris told Reuters that she was open to discussions with Maduro.

"I have to negotiate with him," she said. "I'm telling him he must comply with the constitution."

Venezuela's ruling Socialist party authorized Maduro, a 61-year-old former bus driver, to seek a second re-election for another six-year term and he successfully registered as a candidate with the CNE on Monday.

"There will be elections with or without you," Maduro said from the CNE building in Caracas, referring to the opposition.

At least 10 other candidates have also registered, including an opposition party state governor who registered five minutes before the deadline.

But the majority are seen as being close to the government and lack significant voter support, opinion polls show.

(Reporting by Vivian Sequera and Mayela Armas; Writing by Oliver Griffin and Kylie Madry; Editing by Rosalba O'Brien and Clarence Fernandez)