Venezuelan Prez pardons over 100 opposition leaders

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro has pardoned over 100 opposition leaders, who are currently serving sentences or facing criminal charges, ahead of the December 6 parliamentary elections.

Communication and Information Minister Jorge Rodriguez said the move on Monday was aimed to “promote peaceful coexistence and the resolution of controversies through constitutional, electoral and peaceful channels”, reports Xinhua news agency.

The pardons represent a guarantee of all parties’ participation in the legislative elections, said Rodriguez.

A total of 27 deputies from different political parties with pending legal proceedings are among the pardoned leaders.

It also includes legislator Freddy Guevara, who sought asylum in the Chilean diplomatic residence, as well as Roberto Marrero, who had served as chief of staff to opposition leader Juan Guaido.

December’s polls will take place to elect the 167 deputies of the National Assembly.

The 167 members consist of 113 seats elected by first-past-the-post voting, 51 elected by proportional representation and three reserved for members of the indigenous community.