OFFICIAL: Opposition Wins Majority in Venezuela Legislative Elections

OFFICIAL: Opposition Wins Majority in Venezuela Legislative Elections
Fecha de publicación: 
7 December 2015
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CARACAS – At 12:30 Monday morning, Venezuela National Electoral Council (CNE) head Tibisay Lucena announced that the Opposition had won at least 99 seats in the 167 seat National Assembly. The government had won 46 seats, and that there were 22 seats still to close to call.

Lucena reported that turn-out had been high, with 74.25% of those registered voting.

A few incidents were reported during the National Assembly elections Sunday in Venezuela, where some voters ate ballots and military personnel tried to enter election precincts, Defense Minister Gen. Vladimir Padrino Lopez said.

“They’re eating the ballots, something that’s totally prohibited” because it throws off the final count, the general said.

“Three individuals with FANB (armed forces) uniforms tried to enter three voting precincts” in different parts of the country, and the incidents “are being investigated,” Padrino Lopez said, adding that the case of a civilian who showed a firearm at a polling place was also being investigated.

Attorney General Luisa Ortega Diaz authorized imprisoned opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez to vote in the National Assembly election.

“We have asked that a polling place be made available for Lopez to exercise” the right to vote, the AG said after casting her ballot in Caracas.

Lopez’s defense attorney, Juan Carlos Gutierrez, filed a motion on Dec. 1 with a court in Caracas asking that his client’s right to vote be upheld.

The Democratic Unity Roundtable, or MUD, opposition alliance reported “media censorship” at the start of the election to the Union of South American Nations, or Unasur, and former Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero, who are observing the election, said the head of MUD’s international commission, Timoteo Zambrano.

“This morning, starting at 0500 hours, we observed that there’s no information on any of the television channels from the spokesmen for Democratic Unity,” Zambrano said at the media center set up by MUD for the elections.

Venezuela is holding legislative elections, with all 167 seats in the unicameral National Assembly up for grabs.

Polling places opened at 6:00 a.m. and were due to close at 6:00 p.m. across the South American country, but the CNE extended the hour till 7 pm and there were reports that the military kept polls open even beyond that questionably extended time.

Some 19.5 million people are eligible to vote in the election, the first since late President Hugo Chavez launched his Bolivarian Revolution 16 years ago in which the opposition is the favorite to grab control of the National Assembly.

The political movement founded by Chavez, who was in office from 1999 to 2013, has controlled the National Assembly since the body’s creation.

The governing party currently holds 100 seats in the assembly, but the majority of polls conducted in recent weeks showed the opposition making gains amid unhappiness over the economic crisis in Venezuela, which is being battered by high inflation, a recession and shortages of consumer goods.

Supporters of the revolution led by Chavez, who died on March 5, 2013, and the opposition blame each other for the South American country’s economic woes.

Election day started with state television reporting on apearances by officials and candidates allied with President Nicolas Maduro, who urged voters to go to the polls.

Public transportation was free on Sunday to make it easier for voters to get to polling places and cast their ballots, officials said.

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