Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro’s political bloc claimed an overwhelming victory Monday in congressional elections boycotted by the opposition politicians, AP reported.
Venezuela’s elections are widely criticized internationally as being fraudulent, but Nicolas Maduro said in a televised address that Venezuelans have recovered the National Assembly with the majority vote of the people. “It’s a great victory without a doubt for democracy,” President added.
On Sunday, the Maduro’s United Socialist Party of Venezuela and allied parties captured 67% of seats in the National Assembly. According to Indira Alfonzo, president of Venezuela’s National Electoral Council, only 31% of the 20 million registered voters participated in Sunday election.
The election’s result could weaken both Maduro, who’s accused as overseeing a fixed vote, and Guaidó, whose legal claim to the presidency hinges on his role as National Assembly head.
Venezuela’s opposition boycotted election
The opposition boycott stems from a Supreme Court ruling this year appointing a new election commission, including three members who have been sanctioned by the U.S. and Canada, without participation of the opposition-led Congress, as the law requires.
The court also removed the leadership of three opposition parties — including Guaidó’s — appointing new leaders the opposition accuses of conspiring to support Maduro.
Meantime, the polls showed that neither Maduro nor Guaido are popular among Venezuelans at a time the all-round crisis is deepening despite having the world’s largest oil reserves.
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that Sunday’s election in Venezuela was fraudulent. “The results announced by the illegitimate Maduro regime will not reflect the will of the Venezuelan people,” he wrote on Twitter. “What’s happening today is a fraud and a sham, not an election.”