(Bloomberg) -- Venezuela’s electoral council offered to help the opposition organize its shambolic primary elections, an option that many anti-government figures had hoped to avoid. 

Opposition leaders had sought private funding to hold the vote independently of the government-controlled council, or CNE, for fear of interference. But organizing the vote proved difficult, with many polling stations set up in homes, parking lots, and open public spaces, creating concerns over voter safety.

Involving the CNE could remove candidates from the process and delay the vote, currently set for Oct. 22. 

The president of the primary organization committee, Jesús María Casal, didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment about whether they would consider the offer. 

CNE President Elvis Amoroso told reporters Friday that the primaries’ organization committee sent a request for technical assistance in July. 

Some of the top contenders in the primary are banned from holding public office, and it is unclear whether the CNE will allow them to run.

The US has been calling for President Nicolás Maduro to offer concessions allowing for free and fair presidential elections in 2024 in exchange for easing crippling economic sanctions. Washington is calling for all opposition candidates to be allowed to participate, including top contender María Corina Machado, who was banned in June.

Government Loyalists

Machado has publicly asked to exclude the electoral council from the process. The institution was recently packed with government loyalists, including Amoroso, a former Comptroller General who banned Machado and other opposition leaders. 

Read more: Banned Opposition Contender Leads Venezuelan Primaries

Maduro, who became president after Hugo Chávez’s death, is widely expected to run again in a bid for a third six-year term.

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