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Caracas, Friday October 15 , 2004  
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The Carter Center declines observing October 31 election

The U.S. NGO Carter Center Friday said it is not participating as an international electoral observer in the October 31 regional and local election in Venezuela.

The group declined an invitation the National Electoral Council (CNE) made on October 8 arguing it has "not enough time or funds" to organize an observer mission and because it believes that not all the relevant parties in the election may welcome its participation.

In a press release, the Carter Center claimed that "the fact that the opposition, atomized in the Democratic Coordinator and the members of the Liaison Committee of the May 2003 Agreement, have rejected the reports the Carter Center has presented on the previous electoral process (the August 15 presidential referendum) makes it difficult to achieve the goal of increasing confidence in the electoral process."

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