Carter Center to Send a Team to Observe Venezuelan Election

(Bloomberg) -- The Carter Center will deploy a team to observe Venezuela’s elections next month after the exclusion of European Union observers led to concerns about the legitimacy of the electoral process.

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The Atlanta-based organization on Wednesday accepted an invitation that Venezuela’s electoral authority extended in March, according to Jennie Lincoln, its principal adviser for Latin America and the Caribbean.

President Nicolás Maduro is seeking a third consecutive term in the July 28 vote after the government banned his biggest rival, María Corina Machado, from running. The government said in May that it would bar EU monitors after the group declined to lift all sanctions on government officials.

The governments of Colombia and Brazil later said they also wouldn’t send missions to monitor the vote.

The National Electoral Council didn’t reply to a request for comment.

The group’s technical mission is expected to arrive on June 29 to observe the process, which includes assessing the candidates’ campaigns and the organizing of voting centers, among other aspects, Lincoln said.

The announcement will likely be seen as positive news, Barclays analysts Alejandro Arreaza and Jason Keene wrote in a note to clients. “This should contribute to the transparency of the process, and could also play a critical role in containing the risk of potential manipulation,” they said.

The opposition has sought credible international observers as previous Venezuelan elections have been marred by accusations of fraud and government interference. After Machado was sidelined, the group nominated Edmundo González Urrutia, a relatively unknown former diplomat, who has been campaigning in her place.

Government Repression

Repression from the Maduro government has increased in the days leading up to the official start of the campaign on July 4. The government recently arrested four activists and journalists linked to the opposition and barred various mayors from provincial cities where the opposition has been rallying.

The Carter Center last oversaw regional Venezuela elections in 2021, after which it found evidence of political interference at the electoral council and concluded the vote didn’t meet basic international standards for democratic elections.

The nonprofit Carter Center, founded by former US President Jimmy Carter and his wife Rosalynn, monitors elections worldwide, among other endeavors such as combating diseases.

(Updates to include Barclays’ analysts comments in sixth paragraph.)

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