Venezuela's President wins a 2nd term in office in disputed poll

Geraldine Edwards
May 22, 2018

A growing roster of nations condemned Venezuela's presidential election Monday and threatened to ramp up diplomatic and economic pressure on President Nicolas Maduro's already embattled government. But an invasion is not among the options the US or other countries is considering, even though Trump asked advisers why the United States couldn't simply invade Venezuela as it has other countries.

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.

The leading opposition candidate in the Venezuelan elections, Henri Falcón, did not acknowledge the electoral result, saying he did not consider the process to have been legitimate and asking that the election be repeated.

President Nicolas Maduro was unsurprisingly declared victor of Venezuela's election on Sunday (Monday in Manila) in a poll rejected as invalid by his rivals, who immediately called for fresh elections to be held later this year.

Most opposition organisers had urged Venezuelans not to participate in an election from which the most popular anti-government leaders had been banned.

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The National Electoral Council says that President Nicolas Maduro won nearly sixty eight percent of the vote, defeating his main rival, ex Governor Henri Falcon, by nearly forty points.

Both of Maduro's opponents accused electoral authorities of being blind to blatant violations before the vote and on election day.

Venezuela's election board on Sunday put turnout at just 46.1 per cent but the opposition alleged it was even lower.

Maduro, who faces a colossal task turning around Venezuela's moribund economy, has offered no specifics on changes to two decades of state-led policies.

Pshenichnikov stressed that the refusal to recognize the Venezuelan election's results, expressed by the USA and a number of Latin American countries, came as no surprise. Unconcerned about low turnout, Maduro asserted that even if the opposition had not boycotted the vote, he still would have won.

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President Donald Trump said he signed the executive order to prevent corrupt Venezuelan officials from conducting "fire sales", and lining their own pockets by selling Venezuelan debt that the nation's people would be saddled with in the future. Election officials said they would address the claims.

Opposition leaders said the lifeless voting centers were evidence that Venezuelans heeded their call to abstain from voting in an election they contended was certain to be rigged in Maduro's favour.

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.

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

In another set-back to USA in its backyard, Nicolas Maduro has been re-elected for a second six year term as Venezuela's president.

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Maduro had promised "a really good prize" for those who would vote and who possess a Carnet de la Patria, or electronic identity card needed to access social food handouts or receive government coupons. "You seek treatment", said Nayra Martinez, a city employee in the wealthy Caracas district of Chacao who chose to buck her party's call to abstain. "Thank you for giving me 68% of those votes". "We've never seen a country as wealthy in terms of natural resources and in human capital as Venezuela is, driven into such an economic death spiral so quickly by such a small group of individuals determined to enrich themselves at the expense of millions of people".

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