An opposition city council candidate was gunned down in the western state of Zulia hours before the bodyguard of a ruling-party mayoral hopeful was slain here Wednesday ahead of Venezuela's Dec. 8 municipal elections.

Jose Chirinos, who sought a seat on the council in Baralt, Zulia, was shot Tuesday night by two assailants on a motorcycle as he left a radio station after an interview, the MUD opposition alliance said.

A radio host and a young woman were wounded in the attack, but are listed in stable condition at a nearby hospital, MUD said.

Authorities need to conduct "the most expansive investigation" of the murder of the 34-year-old veterinarian, opposition congresswoman Delsa Solorzano said.

"My heartfelt condolences to the family, friends, to our brothers and sisters of Baralt municipality of beloved Zulia for the tragic loss of Jose Chirinos, RIP," the leader of Venezuela's opposition, Miranda state Gov. Henrique Capriles, said on Twitter.

Domingo Gomez, the bodyguard of the ruling party's candidate for mayor of Caracas, Ernesto Villegas, was fatally shot Wednesday morning while riding a motorcycle in the western part of the capital.

Gomez was killed by assailants who wanted to steal his gun, according to media accounts.

Villegas, a former Cabinet minister, described Gomez as "my friend and comrade," in a Twitter message lamenting the bodyguard's death.

Polls show crime is one of the chief concerns of Venezuelans as they prepare to go the polls next month to elect mayors and town councilors.

Venezuela is among the most dangerous countries in Latin America. EFE