Venezuela opposition leaders in talks to join parliament vote, Turkey official says

ISTANBUL/CARACAS (Reuters) – Two high-profile Venezuelan opposition leaders are in talks with the government of President Nicolas Maduro to participate in the upcoming legislative elections despite a planned boycott, a Turkish official involved in the talks said on Tuesday.

Opposition parties had agreed to sit out the parliamentary vote slated for December, arguing the poll was tainted by supreme court meddling in political parties and an arbitrary expansion of the number of legislators.

But two-time presidential candidate Henrique Capriles and legislator Stalin Gonzalez have been quietly leading an effort to field opposition candidates despite worries that the vote will be tilted in favor of the ruling Socialist Party.

The foreign minister of Turkey, a close political and commercial ally of Venezuela, said in a press conference that Capriles and Gonzalez had insisted on the presence of outside observers in the vote, which Maduro had agreed to.

“We see that the administration and the opposition are close to a deal, and we are happy about this,” said Cavusoglu.

“The attendance of outside observers is one of the conditions and these conditions have been accepted by the Maduro administration.”

Neither Capriles nor Gonzalez responded to requests for comment.

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