United Nations ‘considering’ sending observers for Venezuelan elections

By TeleSur English

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(TELESUR ENGLISH) – Some Venezuelan opposition parties continue to lobby for the U.N. not to send international observers to the May 20 presidential elections.

The United Nations says it is considering a request from the Venezuelan government and opposition for electoral accompaniment leading up to the presidential and state elections scheduled for May 20.

Jose Luis Diaz, a spokesman for U.N. political affairs, said on Tuesday: “The U.N. Secretariat is considering a request from the Venezuelan government for accompaniment of the electoral process in the run-up to presidential polls set for 20 May.”

The announcement came after U.N. political affairs chief Jeffrey Feltman, and several other U.N. officials met with Venezuelan ambassador Samuel Moncada and opposition representatives, including Henri Falcon, who was expelled by the Democratic Unity Roundtable (MUD) for registering as a candidate in the presidential election.

The MUD and several other right-wing opposition parties have decided to boycott the electoral process. The opposition grouping had demanded a later date and international observers to guarantee “fair” competition, but when elections were postponed from April 22 to May 20, and the Venezuelan government requested accompaniment from the U.N. and other international organizations, the MUD insisted they wouldn’t participate in what they call “sham” elections.

In their attempt to discredit Venezuela’s electoral process, opposition parties have also sent a letter to U.N. Secretary General Antonio Guterres urging him not to send observers arguing it would lend legitimacy to the electoral process in which President Nicolas Maduro is seeking a second six-year term in office.

Falcon has, however, told reporters the U.N. has an obligation to help the country with the May 20 elections as they work towards a political solution to the country’s woes. He said: The U.N. “has the obligation to assist Venezuela, to accompany Venezuela and explore solutions with Venezuelans so that we do not have to travel paths of violence that nobody wants.”

Moncada, Venezuela’s Ambassador to the U.N., said the U.N.’s commitment to “evaluate the sending of an exploratory mission to Venezuela” was a step in the right direction since it would allow them to understand what is happening “on the ground” in the country. He also stated his belief that there would be a positive outcome to the talks since: “a meeting of government and opposition sectors talking with another organization, in this case, the U.N., with a similar voice. That alone tells me that there is hope we can resolve our issues peacefully, democratically, transparently.”

On Tuesday Venezuela’s Communications Minister Jorge Rodriguez said they would continue to press the Union of South American Nations as well as the United Nations to create a committee to monitor electoral practices in the region after the “disaster” observed during the Colombia’s elections on Sunday.

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