Over the last few weeks, I have had numerous contacts with different political actors in Venezuela, both from the regime and the opposition. The aim of these contacts was to assess the possibilities that the political actors could agree on a framework for the legislative elections scheduled to take place in December. With that purpose, I transmitted the minimum requirements defined by the opposition for having a credible electoral process.
These conditions referred to basic elements of the process such as the National Electoral Council; the equal participation of all political parties and their leaders whose disqualification and prosecution ought to stop, as well as the international electoral observation.
In the context of these contacts, I took note of the statement made public on 2nd August by a wide-ranging representation of the Venezuelan political parties, including all those represented in the Asamblea Nacional, announcing their intention not to participate in the legislative elections.
In the meantime, the EU received an invitation from the Maduro government to deploy an “election accompanying mission”, a concept alien to Union practice as I pointed out to my interlocutors from the government. 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.
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. In my contacts, I suggested the possibility to extend the electoral deadlines to meet the request made by the opposition. As an answer to that, I have received a letter from the Minister of Foreign Affairs informing me about an agreement on that matter with a sector of the opposition. It is a step in the right direction, but not enough for the European Union to be able to deploy an Election Observation Mission. To do that, we need a precise and a broadly positive answer to the minimum requirements defined by the opposition. I have forwarded this letter to my interlocutors of the opposition, as well as to the Member States of the EU, that I will inform more in detail in the informal ministerial meeting in Berlin, and to the participating States in the International Contact Group on Venezuela, that I will call for a ministerial meeting in the near future.