People holding the Venezuelan flag
People holding the Venezuelan flag Reuters

The Venezuelan opposition demanded the Maduro government reinstate the invitation to the European Union to oversee the July presidential elections after revoking it for the bloc's perceived "neocolonialist practices."

The office of candidate Edmundo González Urrutia released a statement saying that the "arbitrary decision" only "adds to the evidence of Maduro's fear to qualified and credible election oversight."

The document, titled "Nicolás Maduro won't avoid a popular electoral oversight," added that the decision "is another failure from Maduro to comply with the Barbados Agreements," which sought to pave the way for freer and fairer elections in the Latin American country in exchange for sanctions relief.

"To the Venezuelan people: as we have shown in the past, this is an obstacle we will overcome with the strength and unity of millions of people decided to win on July 28," added the document.

The government-friendly electoral council (CNE) withdrew the European Union's invitation to oversee the country's presidential elections claiming it would be "immoral" to allow so given its "neocolonialist and interventionist practices" with regards to the country.

"Due to the reasons laid out, we ratify the sovereign decision to revoke the invitation extended to the EU," added Elvis Amoroso, the body's president.

The decision adds a new layer of uncertainty over the country's electoral process, as the long-entrenched government has long conveyed its reluctance to leave power. Top opposition members have also conceded that any transition would involve negotiations with the Maduro government, regardless of the potential electoral victory.

The government had already warned about its opposition to oversight from the EU after the bloc lifted sanctions against four members of the CNE and not all of them, like Caracas had asked. The government-friendly Congress passed a motion on May 20 to revoke the invitation.

Body president Jorge Rodríguez, one of the government's most powerful figures, called EU members "bandits," "illegitimate" and "bastards" for not complying with the country's request. He went on to say the EU is biased in favor of González Urrutia, calling him "the candidate of the United States."

The EU, in the meantime, lamented the decision and called the electoral body to reconsider its decision. "The Venezuelan people should be able to elect their president in credible transparent and competitive elections, backed by international oversights including the European Union, which has a long and distinguished record of independent and impartial oversight," said the bloc in a statement.

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