CARACAS, Sept 30 (Reuters) – The European Union (EU) said on Wednesday that a mission that visited Venezuela in recent days discussed the possibility of postponing the legislative elections scheduled for the end of the year, a postponement that would seek to improve electoral conditions.
The mission of two delegates of the High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs, Josep Borrell, arrived last week to discuss the situation in the country and “reiterate the position of the EU that the electoral conditions now in force do not allow fair, democratic elections. and competitive on December 6. “
Dozens of opposition parties refuse to participate in the vote on the grounds that it is rigged in favor of the ruling United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV), although an opposition group insists on seeking better conditions for possible participation, including former presidential candidate Henrique Capriles.
Capriles thanked the visit of the EU mission on Wednesday and called for the postponement of the elections because he said it was a way to get a European observation to the vote and eventually have its result recognized, paving the way for a possible solution to the long crisis country.
“If they postpone, it does not mean that it is postponed and the (electoral) conditions automatically exist, no, but there will be the possibility of an international observation, that is, there will be the possibility of an election that will serve Venezuela,” he said. Capriles in statement on social networks.
During its visit to Caracas, the mission met with government officials, with the opposition leader and president of the National Assembly, Juan Guaidó, other political forces, the church and civil society, the EU said in a statement. Human rights issues were also discussed, “political prisoners and fundamental freedoms were high on the agenda,” he added.
But he pointed out that “the EU’s policy regarding Venezuela has not changed: currently the conditions do not exist for a free, fair and democratic electoral process to take place. The possibility of postponing the legislative elections to open a space was discussed. dialogue and change those conditions. ”
“Without a postponement and improvement of democratic and electoral conditions, the EU cannot consider sending an electoral observation mission,” he said.
The visit of the two European delegates to Venezuela was requested by President Nicolás Maduro and his Foreign Minister, Jorge Arreaza, who in the end did not meet directly with the envoys, but instead delegated the meeting to the official campaign manager and former Minister of Communications. , Jorge Rodríguez, and the current governor of the state of Miranda, neighboring Caracas, Héctor Rodríguez, said a person familiar with the visit.
Maduro was only a few minutes on a call from his collaborators with the Europeans, the source added, noting that the EU envoys clearly told the government that it should postpone the elections for at least six months. Even the Venezuelan government does not officially respond to the European request, added the person who knew directly about the mission’s efforts.
The Communication Ministry did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
(Reporting by Vivian Sequera and Brian Ellsworth; Editing by Mayela Armas and Javier López de Lérida)