Venezuela's Maduro Wins Boycotted Elections Amid Charges Of Fraud

The Latest Venezuelans line up to vote in Sunday's election

The Latest Venezuelans line up to vote in Sunday's election

Maduro's main rival, independent candidate Henri Falcon, said he had received at least 350 complaints from voters about the existence of the red points, some of which are inside voting centers. Despite energetic campaigning, his overall vote haul slipped by 1.6 million from 2013, when he was first elected after Hugo Chavez's death from cancer. Turnout was under 50 per cent.

Addressing crowds of supporters outside the presidential palace in Caracas on Sunday night, Maduro hailed the "impeccable electoral process" that had returned him to power with 67.7% of the vote.

As the results were being announced, residents of downtown Caracas just a few blocks from where Maduro supporters were celebrating banged on pots and pans in protest.

"We mustn't cave to any empire, or go running to the International Monetary Fund as Argentina did".

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said earlier on Twitter: "Sham elections change nothing".

All 14 members of the group issued a statement on Monday condemning the election and saying they will call back their ambassadors in Caracas for consultations on what to do next, as well as summon the Venezuelan ambassadors in each country to express their concerns.

Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy decried the vote as not respecting "minimal democratic standards" and vowed to consult with European counterparts on new measures in hopes of "easing the suffering of Venezuelans".

The government of Spain added its voice to a chorus of global condemnation, promising to join its European counterparts to study "opportune measures" in response.

However, regional leftist allies of Venezuela, from Cuba to Bolivia, sent their congratulations. "Another reason is Venezuela's cooperation with Russian Federation", the expert added.

"Falcon, a former member of the Socialist Party who went over to the opposition in 2010, said he was outraged at the government's placing of almost 13,000 pro-government stands called "red spots" close to polling stations nationwide".

CNE President Tibisay Lucena announced the results with 92.6 percent reporting and said the turnout was 46.1 percent, Deutsche Welle reported.

It also vowed they would "reduce their level of diplomatic relations" with Venezuela in response to a vote it said didn't meet worldwide standards. It also promised to push worldwide and regional entities not issue Venezuela new credit.

The "fatherland cards" are required to receive benefits including food boxes and money transfers.

But the vote was marred by a 52 percent abstention rate - a historic high - following a boycott called by the Democratic Unity Roundtable (MUD) opposition coalition, which slammed the ballot as a "farce". "I'm the president of all of the Venezuelans". "That's what we need to do with our country. The fraud has been exposed and today the world will reject it", tweeted opposition leader Julio Borges.

Protesters did, however, barricade some streets in the southern city of Puerto Ordaz, drawing teargas from National Guard soldiers, witnesses said. A Treasury Department release said he is "referred to as the second most powerful man in Venezuela - after Maduro".

Maduro faces a Herculean task to turn around the moribund economy, with the bolivar currency down 99 per cent in the past year and inflation at an annual 14,000 per cent, according to the National Assembly.

Reeling from a fifth year of recession, falling oil production and US sanctions, Venezuela is seeing growing levels of malnutrition, hyperinflation, and mass emigration. The worldwide sanctions have induced relatively few high-level defections from the regime, and financial support from Russian Federation and China have helped Maduro mitigate their impact.

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