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EU claims Venezuela violated the rule of law during elections

Since the start of the elections, witnesses denounced irregularities such as the use of false credentials and changes of voting centers without notification.

Isabel Santos, jefa de la Misión de Observación de la UE
Isabel Santos, jefa de la Misión de Observación de la UE | EFE

November 24, 2021 12:35pm

Updated: November 24, 2021 10:31pm

The European Union (EU) observer mission sent to monitor Venezuela’s regional elections claims that the government violated the rule of law.

In Venezuela there is a lack of judicial independence, in addition to the fact that the electoral campaign was characterized by the use of state resources in favor of the ruling party, said Isabel Santos, head of the mission.

Since the start of the elections, witnesses in Venezuela denounced irregularities such as the use of false credentials, changes of voting centers without notifications, and low voter turnout, according to correspondents.

"There were no sanctions by the National Electoral Council (CNE) for violations" and the observers "witnessed the establishment of checkpoints in the 23 states and the Capital District, despite their explicit prohibition by the CNE."

Santos said he “had the feeling of living a historic moment. It has been 15 years since the European Union came to Venezuela with an observation mission. This work was possible thanks to the invitation of the CNE."

Jordi Cañas, the representative of the European Parliament with the observer mission, thanked the Venezuelan people for welcoming the mission. "Our commitment is with all the citizens of Venezuela and with democracy," he said.

Cañas denounced the “insufficient democratic conditions” and “the deterioration of the rule of law in a context of serious human rights violations.” He also emphasized “the need for an independent judiciary.”

During the elections, the United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV) won 20 of the 23 governorships, including the capital. The opposition only won in the states of Cojedes, Nueva Esparta and Zulia.

These elections were the first time the Venezuelan opposition decided to participate since 2017. However, voter turnout was the lowest recorded with only 41.8 percent of the population voting.

The opposition coalition Mesa de la Unidad Democrática (MUD) ended the election boycott in September. MUD released a statement saying it would participate in the elections after "difficult internal deliberation" and the "urgency to find permanent solutions."

Although the elections were "peaceful," one man was killed in a shooting in front of a polling station in Zulia state, local media reported.

The incident occurred when armed men arrived at the municipality's voting center in white vans and opened fire, reports Venezuelan newspaper 'La Verdad.'