(Bloomberg) -- Venezuela’s head of congress said he would not invite European electoral observers next year after the EU Parliament condemned Nicolas Maduro’s recent disqualification of opposition candidates.
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Jorge Rodríguez said “no representation from Europe” would be invited to oversee the 2024 presidential vote after a resolution from the European Parliament on Thursday said that recent moves from the Maduro government to prohibit opposition leaders from running for public office were “arbitrary and unconstitutional.”
Rodríguez’s remarks are the latest in a series of antidemocratic moves from the Maduro government that have included a total reshuffling of the electoral body and the barring of opposition candidates such as María Corina Machado, who has seen a quick rise in popularity ahead of primaries scheduled for October.
U.S. officials have reiterated that signs of free and fair presidential elections next year would be necessary in order to lift existing economic sanctions.
The Venezuelan government last invited European observers for a regional vote in 2021, during which the electoral mission issued a document with more than 20 recommendations on voting transparency and safeguarding measures to be implemented in future elections.
Tensions with the government arose in the run-up to the elections when Maduro called the observers “spies.” Part of the team was then kicked out of the country days before they were scheduled to depart.
Read more: EU Observers to Release Venezuela Report Remotely Amid Tensions
--With assistance from Fabiola Zerpa and Nicolle Yapur.
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