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Portugal advocates “fair and free” elections in Venezuela

Ⓒ AFP – Juan BARRETO – | The Portuguese Chancellor, Augusto Santos Silva (I), and the President of the National Assembly of Venezuela, Omar Barboza, during a meeting in Caracas on January 8, 2018

Portugal’s chancellor, Augusto Santos Silva, called Monday in Caracas for an electoral timetable that guarantees that the presidential elections – which must be held by the end of this year – will be “fair and free.”

“Portugal supports the process of dialogue that is taking place right now in (Dominican Republic) .The important thing is (…) that all parties can be recognized in an electoral timetable that guarantees that the next elections are fair and free “Santos told reporters.

The presidential elections, in which according to government officials President Nicolás Maduro will seek re-election, should be held by the end of 2018, but analysts do not rule out that they are advanced.

After meeting with Omar Barboza, president of the opposition-majority Parliament, the foreign minister also asked Maduro’s government to “respect the powers of the National Assembly.”

“Our desire and hope is for Venezuelans to achieve a political dialogue that will stabilize the political and social situation,” the diplomat added.

Barboza celebrated that the chancellor expressed his recognition to the Parliament, declared in desacato by the maximum court – accused by the opposition to serve Maduro-, that annuls all his decisions.

“We keep in touch (with Portugal) until they help build a democratic solution to the Venezuelan crisis, which would be no other than a presidential election surrounded by all the guarantees where the people will choose free of any pressure,” he said.

The deputy said he is willing to talk to Maduro, as long as he invites him as “president of the National Assembly.”

The Venezuelan government and opposition will hold a third round of negotiations in Santo Domingo on January 11 and 12 to try to overcome the crisis in the oil country.

The talks are sponsored by Dominican President Danilo Medina, and Mexico, Chile, Bolivia, Nicaragua and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines. The former head of the government of Spain José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero is also a facilitator.

Before the appointment with Barboza, the Portuguese chancellor met with his Venezuelan counterpart, Jorge Arreaza.

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