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Chavez Opponent Says He Will Continue Presidential Bid Despite Court Ruling


Supporters of opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez hold up campaign posters at a rally where Lopez was expected to announce his presidential bid, in Caracas, Venezuela, September 24, 2011.

Supporters of opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez hold up campaign posters at a rally where Lopez was expected to announce his presidential bid, in Caracas, Venezuela, September 24, 2011.

Venezuelan opposition candidate Leopoldo Lopez says he will continue his bid for the presidency despite a Venezuelan Supreme Court ruling that would keep him from holding elected office until 2014.

In a televised speech Tuesday Lopez told supporters, "I can and will be a candidate for the president of Venezuela."

The high court said Monday that the Costa Rica-based Inter-American Court of Human Rights' ruling last month that Lopez's exclusion from the presidential race was unjustified, cannot be enforced. The Venezuelan Supreme Court went on to say that Lopez may run for office, but cannot serve if elected.

Lopez accused the Venezuelan Supreme Court of being controlled by Chavez.

Leopoldo Lopez is the former mayor of the Chacao district in Caracas. He was expected to win the 2008 election to become mayor of all of Caracas before corruption charges were leveled against him and scores of other politicians by President Chavez's comptroller general.

Lopez was never brought to trial on the charges, but he and several other opposition candidates were barred from seeking office. The ban on Lopez remains in effect until 2014.

Lopez has called the suspension unconstitutional.

The Inter-American Court of Human Rights is a part of the Organization of American States (O.A.S.). Venezuela is a member of the O.A.S., but Chavez claims the group is a pawn of the United States.

Some information for this report was provided by AP and Reuters.

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