European Parliament Chairpersons McAllister, Jáuregui Atondo and Assis made the following joint statement:
“The Venezuelan Government has called an election on 30th July to launch the so called National Constituent Assembly process, aimed at writing a new Constitution for the country.
This step is unacceptable both in form and in content, casting serious doubts about its constitutionality and threatening the essential principles of democracy such as universal, free, direct and secret vote.
First, we consider that the Constituent Assembly does not respect the democratic principles and that it will not bring peace or solution to the crisis but only fuel more divisions and confrontations. Moreover, as expressed by the head of the Venezuelan Episcopal Conference Archbishop Diego Padron, such Assembly will result to installing a dictatorial regime by completely diminishing powers of democratically elected representatives of the Congress. Secondly, according to the art. 2 of the decree 2830 which calls the election, the electoral bases for the process would be “sectorial and territorial”, thus violating the democratic principle of universality of vote. The opposition forces, holding the majority at the National Assembly, denounced the 1st May 2830 decree as a “self-coup”, which undermines the authority of President Maduro and the Venezuelan Government, leaning on the arts. 333 and 350 of the Constitution.
The number of deaths grows every day and the population suffers from lack of medicines and food. The latest expression of blatant disorder was the assault to the National Assembly by a group of armed, pro-government assailants, during which people’s representatives were caught as hostages for several hours and some of them were robbed and seriously injured.
There are also unacceptable examples of disregard for the rule of law, such as the debate at the Supreme Court of Justice on the possibility of putting the Attorney General Luisa Ortega Díaz to trial, after she expressed her disagreement with the Government and criticized some of its decisions.
The European Parliament has passed four resolutions condemning the breaches on the rule of law, expressing the MEP’s very serious concerns about the Human Rights situation in Venezuela and calling on Maduro’s Government to set the political prisoners free and restore the Legislative Assembly’s powers. These elements constituted the last Resolution of 27 April 2017 which was adopted by an almost unanimous majority of the Chamber, with only 35 votes against. In this regard, we welcome the release of Leopoldo Lopez from prison who is currently under the home arrest, and we urge the Venezuelan Government to immediately fully restore his civil and political rights.
We now must reiterate our big concern about the situation in Venezuela and call once more for peace and democracy to be respected. We insist that the elections are nowadays the only pacific and democratic way to solve the situation in Venezuela. Celebrating pluralist elections would really give the word to the people.
Furthermore, we demand from the Venezuelan Government to set the political prisoners amounting to around 500 people free, to restore the Legislative Assembly powers and to ensure access to humanitarian aid -especially food and medicines -for the population. Additionally, a mechanism to provide humanitarian support from the EU to the people of Venezuela should be established as soon as possible.
We reiterate that the European Parliament will not recognize the results of this procedure leading to an illegal and illegitimate establishment of the National Constituent Assembly.
Nevertheless, much more must be done to stop the escalation of conflict in Venezuela. For this reason, we Members of the European Parliament suggest that the European Union together with international and regional organisations supports a mediation process to reach a national agreement, without excluding other measures in case the repeated violations of human rights continue.”