Venezuela's re-elected Maduro faces overseas censure

The National Election Council announced that with more than 92% of polling stations reporting, Mr Maduro won almost 68% of the votes Sunday, beating his nearest challenger Henri Falcon by more than 40 points. Mr Falcon accused the government of buying votes and dirty tricks to boost turnout among poor voters most hurt by widespread food shortages and hyperinflation in what was once Latin America's wealthiest nation.

Calling for a new vote, Mr Falcon, 56, said: "The process undoubtedly lacks legitimacy and as such we do not recognise it". The measures are unlikely to hasten a democratic transition, however, unless the Maduro regime faces greater pressure from its own populace.

Turnout at the election was just 46.1%, the election board said, way down from the 80% registered at the last presidential vote in 2013.

Many Venezuelans are disillusioned about the prospect of change.

A senior USA official said Sunday the Trump administration might press ahead on threats to impose crippling oil sanctions.

"If the government of the United States wants to dialogue at some point, I am open to dialogue".

But he showed no sign of replaying Sunday's vote.

"They underestimated me", Maduro told cheering supporters on a stage outside his Miraflores presidential palace in downtown Caracas as fireworks sounded and confetti fell on the crowd. But it's safe to say that the winners were whoever Castro's Cuba-which runs Venezuela-decided they would be.

The Trump administration said it would not recognize the "sham" election and was considering oil sanctions. Election officials said they would address the claims.

Accomplishing that should be the focus for global policymakers and Maduro's domestic opponents in the coming weeks and months.

Henri Falcon has rejected the voting process, which included the scanning of State Benefits cards and ruling socialist party stands too close to polling stations, plus other factors.


Maduro also called on his political rivals to join him for negotiations about the future of the country.

He said Venezuelans would provide an example of democracy to the world and brushed back suggestions he was taking the country down an authoritarian path.

Pence says the Maduro government must allow humanitarian aid into Venezuela "and must allow its people to be heard".

Presidential elections were held on 20 May.

He added that the Islamic Republic of Iran hopes that foreign powers will respect the vote of the people of Venezuela and support the political stability and economic development in south American country.

Voting centers across Venezuela appeared largely empty for the election despite assurances from government officials that millions had turned out to vote by midmorning. National Electoral Council president Tibisay Lucena acknowledged a handful of complaints, but insisted they were minor compared to past elections.

Opinion polls say the overwhelming majority of Venezuelans distrust the electoral council.

Q: Venezuelan President Maduro has been re-elected in the presidential election.

Some anti-government activists said the opposition coalition should have fielded a candidate regardless of how uneven the playing field might be.

"If you're sick and the doctor gives you few days to live, you don't lay in bed waiting to die", she said.


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