In Brief

Venezuelan opposition urges UN not to attend presidential election

Critics say global body’s presence would legitimise President Nicolas Maduro’s ‘rigged’ vote

Venezuela’s opposition alliance has asked the United Nations not to send observers to the “rigged” upcoming presidential election, so as not to “validate a dictatorship”.

The main opposition coalition is boycotting the 20 May vote, arguing that the National Elections Council, a supposedly independent body that oversees the country’s elections, has been favouring the ruling Socialist Party.

“What we have asked the United Nations today is not to validate the electoral fraud in May,” said legislator Delsa Solorzano, of the Broad Front centre-left coalition, at a demonstration outside UN offices in capital Caracas.

President Nicolas Maduro is seeking re-election “amid an economic collapse that has sent a tide of migrants to neighbouring countries”, says Reuters. He has formally requestsed that the UN send observers to the vote.

UN spokesman Farhan Aziz Haq told Reuters: “Our position on all such matters is that the sending of electoral observers requires a mandate from one of the UN’s Member State bodies. If the [General Assembly] or the Security Council were to provide a mandate, we would respond accordingly. But neither has done so up until now.”

Maduro announced in December that three major opposition parties would be banned from participating in the country’s presidential election, because they had boycotted mayoral elections.

The opposition is planning to hold a protest on Saturday.

Former state governor Henri Falcon will run against Maduro despite criticism from commentators who say that Falcon’s participation will simply legitimise an election that he can’t hope to win.

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