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The Venezuelan government, led by President Nicolas Maduro, said Wednesday that it invited the heads of the United Nations and the European Union to send observers to monitor the country's parliamentary elections in December.
Venezuelan Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza said on Twitter that a letter had been sent to UN chief Antonio Guterres and the EU's top diplomat Josep Borrell inviting them to send electoral observers as well as outlining the "broad electoral guarantees agreed for the upcoming parliamentary elections."
The move comes a day after President Maduro pardoned 110 political opponents, including associates of National Assembly lawmaker Juan Guaido, "in the interests of promoting national reconciliation" ahead of the polls; Guaido, however, dismissed the move, calling it a ploy to legitimize the upcoming elections, which part of the opposition has said it will boycott, as it has done in the past.
Although last month Borrell called for the elections to be postponed, claiming that the "conditions for a transparent, inclusive, free and fair electoral process" did not exist," and thus there were not sufficient guarantees "for the European Union to be able to deploy an electoral observation mission," he welcomed Tuesday's announcement.
Borrell indicated Tuesday that the release of prisoners "is good news and a sine qua non-condition to continue advancing in the organization of free, inclusive and transparent elections," a move UN Human Rights Chief Michelle Bachelet also welcomed in a statement Tuesday.
The United States, expectedly, dismissed the pardon of opposition lawmakers as a "token" measure. In contrast, Foreign Minister Arreaza, in his letter Wednesday, assures the UN and EU officials that their electoral observation and accompaniment will help "build consensus in the construction of a climate of peace, national reconciliation and the resolution of our difficulties through democratic, electoral and constitutional means."