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Venezuela invites UN, EU observers to monitor upcoming polls

Venezuela has invited observers from the United Nations (UN) and the European Union (EU) to monitor the upcoming parliamentary elections in the country.

Venezuelan Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza said on Wednesday that invitation letters had been sent to UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres and EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell to send observers.

In the letters, sent on Tuesday, Caracas outlined “the broad electoral guarantees agreed for the upcoming parliamentary elections.”

The development came just a day after Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro pardoned over 100 legislators and associates of US-backed opposition figure Juan Guaido to promote national reconciliation ahead of the congressional elections in December.

Guaido pushed Venezuela into political turmoil by dismissing the results of the 2018 presidential election after Maduro won nearly 70 percent of the votes. The opposition figure declared himself “interim president” of Venezuela in January last year and later launched an abortive coup with foreign support to topple Maduro’s elected government.

Last month, Borrell had called on Caracas to postpone the polls, claiming that “the conditions for a transparent, inclusive, free and fair electoral process” did not exist and saying that the European bloc could not send an electoral observation team.

The Venezuelan government has dismissed the allegations.

However, on Tuesday, Borrell called the pardoning of for the opposition figures “good news” and described it as a crucial move in advancing “in the organization of free, inclusive and transparent elections.”

UN human rights chief Michelle Bachelet also welcomed the move on Tuesday.

Meanwhile, some key Venezuelan opposition figures who had previously boycotted the parliamentary elections are in talks with the Venezuelan government to run in the polls.

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