BELIZE CITY, Mon. Nov. 29, 2021 — On Friday, the Elections and Boundaries Commission issued a press release reporting on the participation of some of its members as international observers at the 2021 regional and municipal elections held in Venezuela last week. This election saw the participation of opposition candidates for the first time since 2018. The participation of international observers from Belize and 55 other countries in electoral oversight was one of the concessions made to encourage opposition participation in the electoral process.
A total of 87 political parties and almost 70,000 voters participated in the municipal and regional elections to elect new governors and mayors across the South American country. It must be noted that the Socialist Party of President Nicolas Maduro swept up most of the governorships and mayoral positions. President Maduro, despite criticism from some observers, called the elections “impeccable and beautiful”.
The Belizean delegation, after the completion of the elections, stated, “We found the electoral process efficient and the automated system of voting secured and convenient for voters to freely exercise the right to vote, and effective in avoiding discrepancies, fraud, and unfairness. In all polling stations, it was observed that the electors who voted did so in a peaceful, orderly, and democratic manner free from strife and political conflict or violence. The participation of the opposition, with attendant witnesses representing opposition parties at each polling station, was a progressive development for the people and country of Venezuela.’
While this was the observation from the Belizean delegation, the delegation of 1,000 observers from the European Union reported a number of concerns regarding the process in their initial report. Those included what they consider arbitrary bans on candidates for administrative reasons, delays in opening voting centers and wide use of state resources in the campaign.
Maduro clapped back on state television recently, calling those observers a delegation of spies sent from the EU to stain the electoral process.
“A delegation of spies – they weren’t observers – wandered freely around the country, spying on the country’s social, economic and political life,” President Maduro said on state television.
Several countries, including the US, which currently has sanctions in place against the South American nation, do not recognize Maduro’s presidency. They, in fact, support opposition leader Juan Guaido, who claimed to have won the 2018 national elections.