MEPs call on Venezuela to cancel the elections scheduled for 20 May unless the country can prove the process is transparent and inclusive.
In a resolution adopted on 3 May MEPs called for the immediate suspension of early presidential elections in Venezuela. The vote passed with a large majority of 492 to 87.
The resolution follows Venezuelan president Nicolás Maduro’s decision to call elections early and to ban certain opposition candidates from running. The European Parliament is warning that it will only recognise elections respecting equal, fair and transparent conditions of participation.
In addition, MEPs confirmed the upcoming elections would not be recognised unless the Venezuelan regime lifts the bans on political opponents and releases its political prisoners.
“Elections that fail to guarantee the respect for the fundamental principles of democracy are illegitimate and therefore cannot be endorsed by the international community and by the European Union in particular," said Portuguese S&D member Francisco Assis.
The chair of Parliament's delegation for relations with Mercosur countries, including Venezuela, added: "That is why the only possible solution is to suspend the elections until their independence and pluralism can be utterly guaranteed."
Venezuela is undergoing a period of grave political and economic crisis. Hyperinflation has left millions unable to afford basic food and medical supplies. Human rights, democracy and the rule of law have also deteriorated rapidly. The excluded opposition were awarded the 2017 Sakharov Prize in recognition of their commitment to human rights despite the decline in standards.
The May resolution is the latest action the Parliament has taken to put pressure on the Venezuelan government to improve the situation for its citizens. In 2017, MEPs condemned the Venezuelan supreme court’s decision to suspend the powers of the country's national assembly and accused the regime of repressing dissent through violence.
In February members also called for EU sanctions against President Maduro and several military leaders, and warned that future elections would only be recognised if voting rules were agreed with the opposition.
In April Parliament President Antonio Tajani further highlighted the urgent need for a legitimate government to solve the related problem of mass migration, with two million people fleeing Venezuela since the crisis began.