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Venezuelan government, opposition agree to schedule 2024 presidential elections

19 October 2023 08:00 (UTC+04:00)
Venezuelan government, opposition agree to schedule 2024 presidential elections

In a ceremony held in Barbados, the government of Venezuela led by President Nicolas Maduro and the country's opposition reached an agreement on Tuesday to schedule presidential elections for the second half of 2024. The consensus comes as the United States considers easing certain oil-related sanctions on Venezuela, Azernews reports, citing Anadolu Agency.

After a suspension of almost a year, the two sides announced their commitment to respect electoral guarantees, including the authorization of all presidential candidates "who meet the legal requirements to participate." It did not, however, reverse bans on some opposition figures, including Maria Corina Machado.

Primary elections are set to take place in Venezuela on Sunday, where candidate Machado is expected to win. However, some opposition leaders, including Machado, are currently barred from holding public office.

Jorge Rodriguez, the head of the Venezuelan government delegation, emphasized that disqualified individuals will be able to run for the presidency. Whether the US government, led by President Joe Biden, will allow these terms to stand remains uncertain.

If Washington agrees to the terms, it could provide much-needed relief to President Maduro by easing oil sanctions, which have restricted oil exports to the US since 2019. The Biden administration began gradually lifting some restrictions on Venezuela's oil sector last year.

President Maduro, who has been in power since 2013 and was re-elected in 2018 in an election widely criticized by the international community as neither free nor fair, is expected to seek another term in office next year, although he has not officially announced his candidacy.

The Barbados agreement specifies that international observers from the European Union and the United Nations will oversee the upcoming vote in 2024.

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