News ID: 317440
Published: 0222 GMT October 29, 2021

EU election observers begin work ahead of Venezuela elections

EU election observers begin work ahead of Venezuela elections

Election observers with the European Union Election Observation Mission review a map of Venezuela before a news conference concerning local and regional elections in November in Caracas, Venezuela, on October 28, 2021.

European Union election observers began their mission in Venezuela on Thursday, as campaigning kicked off for regional elections next month which are set to include opposition candidates.

It is the first time in 15 years the EU has sent observers to Venezuela, according to Reuters.

More than 3,000 positions – including governors, mayors and municipal councillors – are up for grabs next month, according to Venezuela's elections authority. Some 21 million voters are eligible to participate.

A total of 44 EU observers have arrived in Venezuela so far. They will work in 22 of the country's 23 states, Santos said, adding no personnel will be sent to the Amazonas state due to transport difficulties and the coronavirus pandemic.

The observers will release a preliminary report two days after the vote, with the final report expected to take two months, said Santos, a member of the European Parliament from Portugal.

Observers will remain deployed across the country until Nov. 29.

Opposition parties are participating in the Nov. 21 contest after boycotting presidential and parliamentary elections in 2018 and 2020 respectively.

"The opposition is going to participate in these elections (...) we want to hear from everyone," mission chief Isabel Santos told reporters before observers set out from capital Caracas to cities around the country.

Back in September, Venezuela’s main opposition parties announced an end to three years of boycotting election, saying they would participate in November polls.

They boycotted the 2018 presidential vote, which President Nicolas Maduro won, and the 2020 legislative elections, in which the opposition lost control of Congress. 

The decision to end the boycott came after government and opposition representatives began a fresh round of talks in August, mediated by Norway and hosted by Mexico.

The talks were aimed at resolving the political crisis that plagued the Latin American country after US-backed opposition figure Juan Guaido unilaterally declared himself “interim president” in January 2019.








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