Venezuela’s President Signals He Won’t Allow Election Monitoring

Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro indicated he won’t allow international observers to monitor December’s congressional elections, as opinion polls show the ruling party losing its majority.

“Venezuela is not and will not be monitored by anyone,” Maduro said at the United Nations in New York on Tuesday in response to a reporter’s question about whether the UN could “monitor” the Dec. 6 vote. “Our country won’t accept it ever.”

Maduro’s ruling United Socialist Party of Venezuela, known as PSUV, is forecast to lose its congressional majority for the first time in 16 years as the world’s fastest inflation and record shortages of basic goods eat into its core support among the poor. Opposition candidates are backed by 56.2 percent of voters, compared with 29.8 percent for the PSUV, according to the latest available Datanalisis poll of 1,000 people surveyed between May 18 and 30.

Venezuelan courts this month banned three opposition candidates from holding office for alleged offences ranging from not declaring food coupons to instigating violence. Another candidate is in hiding outside the country for fear of arrest.