CARACAS – The Venezuelan government’s chief representative at the dialogue with the opposition in the Dominican Republic said on Monday they had reached an agreement on having an adequate delegation of international observers at this year’s presidential election, and repeated that they are ready to sign the accord.
“The parties are... in agreement on most points, on almost all the points, on 99.9 percent of the points,” Chavismo representative Jorge Rodriguez told a press conference, adding that they agree on having “the largest possible international electoral observation mission” watching the presidential election.
“Not only so that (countries of the world) observe, but so they learn a little about how elections are held in Venezuela, so that no barbarity is ever repeated like the one in Honduras, where the presidential election was brazenly stolen,” he said.
The opposition had asked for observers from the Organization of American States (OAS) and the European Union (EU), and still does not agree on holding the elections before May, as established by the purely ruling-party membership of the National Constituent Assembly (ANC), on grounds that it would not provide “fair” or “transparent” voting conditions.
No representatives on either side have yet confirmed their presence at Monday’s dialogue, except for Rodriguez.
Negotiations began last Dec. 1 in Santo Domingo in the presence of Dominican President Danilo Medina and former Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero.
Also taking part as observers have been representatives of Bolivia, Nicaragua, and St. Vincent and the Grenadines, countries invited by the Chavistas, and Chile and Mexico, invited by the opposition, though Mexico withdrew after the ANC unilaterally set the time of year when the election would take place.
Meanwhile, Chile issued a warning after the last meeting that it too would withdraw “if in a very short time the conditions are not established” between the parties for a presidential election that is “democratic, transparent and in line with international standards.”