U.S. denounces the elections as a ‘fraud and a sham’
President Nicolas Maduro seized total control of Venezuela’s political institutions on Sunday with a sweeping victory in legislative elections that were boycotted by the main Opposition parties.Mr. Maduro and his left-wing allies had 67.7% of the vote with over 80% of ballots counted, while the Opposition bloc which broke the boycott had 18%, National Electoral Council president Indira Alfonzo said.Turnout was low with just 31% of the country’s 20 million electorate voting.Sunday’s predictable triumph gives Mr. Maduro’s ruling Socialist Party control of an expanded 227-seat National Assembly, the only official body held by the opposition.It further weakened U.S.-backed Opposition leader Juan Guaido, who led the boycott after calling the vote “a fraud”.“Happy morning of victory!” Mr. Maduro celebrated. “We have a new National Assembly, we have had a tremendous and gigantic victory.”U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo denounced the polls as “a fraud and a sham” engineered by Mr. Maduro.“The results announced by the illegitimate Maduro regime will not reflect the will of the Venezuelan people,” wrote Mr.Pompeo on Twitter.Brazilian Foreign Minister Ernesto Araujo tweeted that the vote was an “electoral farce” and an attempt by the Maduro “dictatorship” to legitimize its rule.‘Results not recognised’Canada and the Organisation of American States said they would not recognise the result.“Canada will always stand with the people of Venezuela in their fight to restore democracy,” Foreign Minister Francois-Philippe Champagne said.Washington, Mr. Guaido’s main ally, is leading pressure to oust Mr. Maduro with economic sanctions, including an oil embargo in force since April 2019.
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