Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro and seven other candidates for the July elections signed an agreement on Thursday to respect the results, although the country’s main opposition abstained, saying the government had already violated an existing agreement.

The nine-point agreement was presented by the National Electoral Council (CNE), Venezuela’s highest electoral authority, which critics say is an extension of the ruling party.

The main opposition candidate, Edmundo Gonzalez, refrained from signing, as did Enrique Márquez.

In a statement released on Thursday, Gonzalez said the opposition had met the preconditions for the elections set out in an agreement signed between the government and the opposition in Barbados last year.

“This agreement was violated by one of the parties, which rescinded an invitation to international observers from the European Union and increased the persecution of our campaign leaders and supporters,” Gonzalez said in the statement.

The president of the CNE, Elvis Amoroso, said that Gonzalez “did not respond to the country’s call” after calling him to sign, while the official television station broadcast an empty chair.

Gonzalez, a 74-year-old former diplomat who is leading the polls, told journalists on Thursday that he had not received any summons from the CNE.

On May 28, Amoroso withdrew an invitation to EU observers to monitor the elections, saying the trading bloc must first lift sanctions against officials in the South American country.

After signing the document, Maduro said that the act showed that “we do not want violence (…) we believe in the electoral authority”.

“I appeal to all Venezuelans to respect this document and support the National Electoral Council, may its word be sacred,” said Maduro.

Via Reuters.


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