The EU will help Venezuela to become democratic

EU officials deployed to make parliamentary elections democratic

The EU has sent two top officials to crisis-stricken Venezuela to try to reach an agreement between the government and the opposition on the contested parliamentary elections in December.

Two top officials from the EU Foreign Service are currently in Caracas. Their goal is to contribute to the negotiations between the government and parts of the opposition on how the parliamentary elections in December can be done freely and fairly.

The Venezuelan opposition is divided. The majority want to boycott the December election, which they believe is rigged. But a growing minority wants to negotiate better terms to be able to participate.

Juan Guaidó, who appointed himself interim president last year and is recognized by some 50 countries, including Sweden, represents the hard boycott line. A few weeks ago, former presidential candidate Henrique Capriles stepped forward and launched a softer line, to negotiate with the government on new rules for the conduct of the election. The stalemate in Venezuelan politics seemed to be breaking and then the EU took the opportunity to reactivate its mediating role in the country.

During their three-day visit, which ends today, Monday, EU officials will meet with representatives of both the government and the opposition.

The increasingly pressured President Nicolas Maduro has recently had a more conciliatory tone in order to legitimize the election in December. He invited the EU to attend the elections as observers, but the EU replied that time was running out.

This indicates that the EU wants to try to have the election postponed for a few months, something that Maduro has so far refused to agree to, but as Henrique Caprile’s camp has suggested.

Nicolas Maduro’s position has been further weakened following a report commissioned by the UN which stated that the government had committed extensive human rights violations in connection with the protests in 2019. It is also included in the EU’s calculations. A weakened president and a divided opposition can force all parties to the negotiating table to find a solution to the political crisis.

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