EU mission to Venezuela deploys 44 election observers

Caracas, Oct 28 (EFE).- The European Union’s Election Observation Mission in Venezuela on Thursday deployed 44 of its members in different states under the supervision of the chief of the operation, Euro-deputy Isabel Santos, at the start of the campaign for local and regional offices culminating in the Nov. 21 elections.

In a statement to the media after meeting with the National Election Council (CNE), Santos said that a “central team” of 11 people is also in Venezuela and, later, 34 additional observers will be added, along with a delegation of 12 lawmakers, “some” diplomats and several other observers who will be hired in the South American country.

“We expect to get to Nov. 21 with 100 or more observers, which means a big mission, compared with the numbers for previous missions in Venezuela and in other countries,” the Portuguese Euro-deputy said.

Regarding the challanges the observers will face, she said that the main one – as in other countries – is the Covid-19 pandemic, which she called “a very big challenge.”

Santos said that the mission will observe “the entire electoral process” from the campaign up until “the moment of voting,” as well as the vote count afterwards, and it will remain in the country for a time “if there is an (election) complaint” in subsequent days.

A summary of what the mission members observe will be included in the preliminary report that the officials will present on Nov. 23, with “all the conclusions” it has made up to that time.

And the definitive report will come about two months later, after all the contributions of the observers have been analyzed thoroughly and in detail, all of which will determine whether it is necessary to suggest corrective measures and/or recommendations for future balloting.

The mission will carry out the full scope of its work in 22 of Venezuela’s 23 states, as well as in Caracas. with Amazonas being the only state where just a short-term team of observers will be deployed in the days prior to the vote, due to logistical and security considerations.

Regarding the meeting with the CNE, Santos said that it was “a welcome (and working) meeting” at which the latest details of the deployment were discussed.

During its work, the mission members will meet “with all the political actors” as well as “with civil society,” Santos said.

The Venezuelan opposition will also be participating and fielding candidates in this election, including the faction headed by former lawmaker Juan Guaido, the first time that the majority of the anti-Chavista bloc has participated at the polls since 2017, Santos said.

Regarding the methdology to be used in conducting the mission’s work, she said that the EU observers will be spread “among the different states and will tour (those states) to provide the broadest possible coverage.”

“This is something that we do in different parts of the world and we are very well-trained to do it and we will do it very well,” she said.

After meeting with the press, Santos witnessed the departure of the observers in vehicles for their various deployment sites. Due to the shortage of gasoline in the country, a scarcity that is particularly acute in the capital, the vehicles were all carrying extra containers of fuel.


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