if conditions for a fair and transparent vote are not met
HAVANA TIMES – The European Union will deploy an election mission to Venezuela only if the conditions for transparent elections are met, the bloc’s foreign policy chief, Josep Borrell, said on Tuesday, reported dpa news.
Borrell said the EU had received an invitation from President Nicolas Maduro’s government to send “an election accompanying mission” for the parliamentary poll scheduled for December 6. He called it “a concept alien to Union practice.”
More than 25 opposition parties have announced a boycott of the elections, which opposition leader Juan Guaido dismissed as a “farce.”
Venezuela’s allegedly pro-Maduro Supreme Court has replaced the leadership of several opposition parties, and the opposition also accuses the government of harassment and arrests of its members.
Borrell made the statement after suspected pro-government paramilitary members reportedly prevented supporters of the opposition party Accion Democratica from entering its headquarters on Monday.
“To deploy an Election Observation Mission, the EU requires guaranteed minimum conditions of credibility, transparency and inclusiveness, and the ability to observe the electoral process without interference including unobstructed access,” the EU’s top diplomat said in a statement.
“Following my contacts with Venezuelan representatives and political leaders, I have to conclude that conditions are not met, at this stage, for a transparent, inclusive, free and fair electoral process.”
Maduro won a second term in May 2018 in an election boycotted by most of the opposition. He has presided over a massive economic and political crisis that has sent about 5 million Venezuelans fleeing abroad.