Venezuela announces regional elections after calls for talks

Venezuela’s electoral authority on Thursday announced mayoral and gubernatorial elections for November 21 as President Nicolas Maduro and the opposition made moves to restart stalled talks.

Opposition leader Juan Guaido on Tuesday proposed to restart negotiations and offered the “progressive lifting” of international sanctions against Maduro and his allies if they agreed to “free and fair elections: presidential, parliamentary, regional and municipal with international observation and support.”

On Wednesday, Maduro said he would agree to “meet with all the opposition” with the help of the European Union and Norway.

Norway has taken on the role of mediator between the government and the opposition, with Venezuela mired in political and economic crises. Maduro’s government left the talks in 2019.

The November vote would be the first since the 2020 legislative elections boycotted by the opposition, which also refused to take part in the presidential poll that saw Maduro re-elected in 2018.

Last week, the opposition hit out at the regime after the new parliament dominated by Maduro allies named pro-government figures to the top electoral body.