Venezuela vote: Maduro claims poll victory as opposition cries foul

Source:  Santiago Times

CARACAS – President Nicolás Maduro has hailed the controversial election for a constituent assembly as a “vote for the revolution” in Venezuela.
Electoral officials in Venezuela say turnout in the controversial election for a constituent assembly was 41.5%, a figure disputed by the opposition.

The opposition coalition said 88% of voters abstained and it refused to recognize the election. It also called for more protests on Monday.

Venezuelans were asked to choose the more than 500 representatives who will make up a constituent assembly.
Sunday’s election was marred by violence, with widespread protests and at least 10 people killed.

The constituent assembly was convened by President Maduro to rewrite the existing constitution, which was drafted and passed in 1999 when his mentor, President Hugo Chávez, was in office.

Huge turnout

The Venezuelan National Electoral Council (CNE) announced Monday that about 8,089,320 Venezuelans voted in the elections to elect the members of the National Constituent Assembly (ANC).

CNE president, Tibisay Lucena, reported here that this figure represents 41.53 percent of the electoral roll.

Lucena expressed gratitude for the workers of the Electoral Power and the Bolivarian National Armed Forces (FANB), which guaranteed citizen participation in the elections.

“This has been a special, unusual, different election,” the CNE president said. After issuing the first bulletin of the electoral process, she stressed, ‘the country gained peace, given the civility that characterized this election.’

Almost at midnight, the Electoral Power informed the nation the number that reaffirmed Chavism is the biggest political force of Venezuela, despite opposers, the so-called Mesa para la Unidad Democratica (MUD), deny to admit their defeat.

International Solidarity

President Maduro spoke at length on television after the results came out. The socialist president thanked the international solidarity with this South American nation, particularly the nations that have directly backed up the Sunday elections to set up a National Constituent Assembly.

“The word ‘Constituent’ already begins to sound in towns, neighborhoods, factories of a Latin America that rises in a new wave of liberating and popular struggle,” Maduro stressed, after the news that more than eight million people voted to elect a new National Constituent Assembly (ANC) was reported.

The Venezuelan Head of State rejected that the U.S. government of President Donald Trump ‘insists on interfering in the internal affairs of Venezuela.’

He also regretted that the right-wing opposition sectors ‘cooperate with imperial axes to attack the nation, victim of a financial blockade they boosted during 2016, along with the violence promoted since April this year.’

Maduro also highlighted the commitment by the Bolivarian government he leads ‘for defending the people and continuing a revolutionary process focused on consolidating a state of equal and inclusive.’

“I swear for the infinite love of the legacy of Commander Hugo Chavez that, with the heroic example the people has given today with more than eight million votes, I am going to dedicate my whole life to a deep revival of justice, equality, so this Revolution recovers,” Maduro said.