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France: Melenchon defends Venezuela elections' legitimacy

Jean-Luc Melenchon, former head of the European Parliament, condemned critics of Venezuela's electoral process as U.S. "puppets."

As the United States continues to claim Venezuela's presidential elections are illegitimate, the leader of France's radical left has defended the Latin American nation's electoral process, condemning critics as U.S. "puppets."

Jean-Luc Melenchon, former head of the European Parliament, denied U.S. claims that the international community is rejecting the elections: "There are a certain number of countries, the puppets of the United States, which have decided that these elections did not suit them."

In an interview with La Chaine Info (LCI) and RTL, a French radio network, Melenchon said that Spain's former socialist Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero also approved of Venezuela's electoral system.

"It is not true that the opposition has boycotted, because there are three other candidates," he said.

The leader of France Insumisa, the left-wing populist and democratic socialist party, also acknowledged "there is a great difficulty in Venezuela," which he said was caused by the fall in oil prices.

Melenchon also said: "There was a terrifying crisis that comes from a part of the opposition that is violent... it has created such an explosive situation."

He concluded by condemning foreign interference by the French government of Emmanuel Macron, along with other EU member states which he said have repeatedly failed the electoral process in Venezuela.

Earlier, U.S. State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert posted on Twitter: "The so-called elections in Venezuela today are not legitimate.

"The United States is on the side of the democratic nations in the world that support the Venezuelan people and their sovereign right to elect their representatives in free and fair elections."

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