BRUSSELS, September 29 (Reuters) – The European Union will send observers to regional elections in Venezuela scheduled for November 21, at the invitation of the country’s National Electoral Council, the bloc’s foreign policy chief said in a statement on Wednesday. .
“An unprecedented electoral process will take place, with the consent of the majority of political forces for the first time in recent years, to elect more than 3,000 regional and municipal representatives in Venezuela,” said the EU high representative for foreign affairs, Josep Borrell.
“The EU Election Observation Mission will undertake an independent technical assessment of all aspects of the electoral process and offer recommendations to improve future elections,” he said.
The vote comes after three years of election boycotts by the opposition and a failure of US-backed efforts to force Socialist Party Chairman Nicolas Maduro out of power through sanctions and the creation of a parallel-led government by the opposition.
The regional elections are expected to pose little threat to Maduro’s control over Venezuela. He clung to power despite a mind-boggling collapse in the country’s economy as well as the massive U.S. sanctions program meant to force him out of power. Read more
The EU will send 11 electoral experts who will arrive in Caracas in October and will be joined by the end of this month by up to 62 long-term observers who will be deployed to regions of the country.
Another 34 short-term EU observers and 20 locally recruited will strengthen the mission on election day. The EU team will remain in Venezuela until the completion of the electoral process, according to the EU statement.
EU observers will issue an opening statement and hold a press conference in Caracas after the elections and will also issue a final report with recommendations for future elections after the finalization of the electoral process.
Reporting by Jan Strupczewski; edited by Jonathan Oatis
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