UN to send panel of experts to monitor elections in Venezuela

The UN has decided to send a panel of electoral experts to monitor next month’s regional and municipal polls in Venezuela.

A team of three experts will be deployed to Venezuela to follow the electoral process and will provide the UN Secretary-General with an independent internal report of the overall conduct of the elections, Xinhua news agency quoted an official statement as saying.

A panel of electoral experts is one of the various types of electoral assistance that the UN may provide to member states at their request.

Unlike UN electoral observation missions, which require a specific mandate by the Security Council or the General Assembly, panels of electoral experts do not issue evaluative public statements on the overall conduct of the electoral process or their results, the statement said.

Following the completion of a technical assessment, the UN Secretariat has responded positively to the request of the National Electoral Council of Venezuela to deploy such a panel of experts.

On Thursday, Stephane Dujarric, the spokesman for UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, said it was important for the National Electoral Council of Venezuela to reach out for UN help.

Asked whether the deployment of the UN panel of experts would lend legitimacy to the elections in Venezuela, the spokesman said it is not for the world body to judge.

“These are not elections where we have a stamp that says legitimate or illegitimate, and we put it on a piece of paper. It is important. And we have always been pushing for transparent elections that people can believe in.

“It is also incumbent, as in any election, that people respect the results of a transparent process; if there are issues, that they’re addressed through legal channels; and that everyone is allowed to compete,” he said.