In response to an invitation by the National Electoral Council of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, the European Union has decided to deploy an EU Election Observation Mission (EOM) to observe the regional and local elections scheduled for 21 November 2021.
Josep Borrell, High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and Vice-President of the European Commission, has appointed Ms. Isabel Santos, Member of the European Parliament, as Chief Observer of the 2021 EU Election Observation Mission to Venezuela. The EU also deployed Election Observation Missions to Venezuela in 2005 and 2006.
High Representative Josep Borrell said: “An unprecedented electoral process will take place, with the concurrence of the majority of political forces for the first time in recent years, to elect more than 3,000 regional and municipal representatives in Venezuela. The EU has not been present in Venezuela with an EU Election Observation Mission for the past 15 years. Under the leadership of the Chief Observer Ms. Santos, a respected parliamentarian and very experienced election observer, the EU EOM will undertake an independent technical assessment of all aspects of the electoral process and will propose recommendations to improve future elections. I believe this work can be an important contribution to supporting a peaceful and Venezuelan-owned solution to the crisis and a path towards credible, inclusive and transparent elections as an outcome.”
Chief Observer Ms. Santos said: “After years of tensions and polarisation, the forthcoming elections are a possible important step towards finding a peaceful and democratic solution to the crisis in Venezuela. I am honoured to have been entrusted with the responsibility of leading this important EU Election Observation Mission, the first mission of this kind in Venezuela for many years. I look forward to working with state authorities, political parties, candidates, civil society organisations and other stakeholders, with the goal of defending democratic values and promoting a credible, inclusive and transparent process.”
The Core Team of the EU EOM consists of 11 election experts and will arrive in Caracas in October. By end-October, up to 62 Long-Term Observers will join the mission and will be deployed in the regions. Around 34 Short-Term Observers as well as 20 locally-recruited Short-Term Observers will reinforce the mission during the election-day. The EU EOM will remain in the country until the completion of the electoral process.
Following the EU election observation methodology, the mission will issue a preliminary statement and hold a press conference in Caracas after the elections. The final report, which will include a set of recommendations for future electoral processes, will be presented and shared with stakeholders after the finalisation of the entire electoral process.
The Administrative Arrangement (AA) that was signed with the National Electoral Council of Venezuela for the observation of the 21 November regional and municipal elections is public and can be downloaded here. The AA set out the commitments made by its signatories, including guarantees of freedom of speech and movement for the EU EOM.