TORONTO – The Canadian government has questioned the results of the gubernatorial elections held on Sunday in Venezuela and expressed its concern about the numerous irregularities that put their legitimacy in doubt.
The elections in the Caribbean nation were won by the ruling Chavista movement by a vast majority.
Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland said in a statement on Twitter Monday that Canada is “very concerned by yesterday’s polling centre closures & relocations – clearly favouring #Venezuela regime, hindering free + fair elections.”
This Monday a spokesperson for the Foreign Affairs Ministry told EFE that Canada is concerned “about the electoral violations” during the Venezuelan elections, but still hopes for “an independent and credible evaluation of the results.”
On Tuesday, Freeland also said the irregularities show that Venezuela’s National Electoral Council (CNE) does not act as an independent institution but totally in compliance with what the government wants.
The foreign affairs minister expressed the view that Venezuelans have a constitutional right to choose their leaders through free, fair and transparent elections.
Meanwhile, the Venezuelan opposition insisted on Monday that the gubernatorial elections held on Sunday were fraudulent and called on the international community to exert more pressure against the Nicolas Maduro government.
“The regime took the path of fraud, violence, irregularity, manipulation, opportunism, corruption, cheating, extortion, coercion and blackmail to distort and ignore the will of our people,” a statement from the opposition coalition Democratic Unity Roundtable (MUD) read.
Canada will be the host next Oct. 26 of the third meeting of the Lima Group, which will discuss Venezuela’s political situation.
The group is made up of 12 countries of the Americas that say “Venezuela is no longer a democracy” and that laws passed by its National Constituent Assembly are “illegitimate.”
Expected to attend the meeting are the foreign ministers of Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Panama, Paraguay and Peru.