Venezuela’s socialist president has claimed a major victory after yesterday’s vote. The vote was to install his hand-picked illegal parliament in the place of the entire legitimate parliament, all so they can rewrite the constitution and give him unlimited power.
CNN – President Nicolás Maduro thanked “the brave people of Venezuela” for voting in a controversial election for a new Constituent Assembly that will have the power to rewrite his country’s constitution.
The election will allow Maduro to replace Venezuela’s current legislative body — the National Assembly — with the new assembly, made up of 545 members, all nominated by his administration.
“We have a Constituent Assembly. I said, come hell or high water– and hell and high water came — and the Constituent Assembly arrived from the hand of the people, from its conscience,” Maduro said, claiming victory.
Critics say that Maduro is lying about the number that voted:
Venezuela’s National Electoral Council said that more than 8 million people, about 41.53% of registered Venezuelan voters, cast ballots Sunday.
At a rally Sunday evening, Maduro said more than 8 million votes made it “the biggest turnout that the Bolivarian Revolution has had in its entire 18-year history.”
Venezuela’s National Electoral Council President Tibisay Lucena said there had been “massive participation,” and read the names of the first candidates who received enough votes to become members of the Constituent Assembly, including first lady Cilia Flores and pro-Maduro former foreign minister Delcy Rodriguez.
A key opposition figure, Henrique Capriles, governor of Miranda state, earlier labeled the election fraudulent and called for protests at noon on Monday.
Speaking at a press briefing in Caracas, Capriles said voter participation Sunday was less than 15%. He claimed voter turnout was three times higher two weeks ago for an opposition-led, non-binding referendum against Maduro’s proposed Constituent Assembly.
The president of the National Assembly, Julio Borges, tweeted that Lucena’s Sunday announcement of voter turnout of more than 8 million was almost triple the true turnout and “the biggest electoral fraud in our history.”
The State Department promised swift actions against Maduro and his administration after the vote:
International criticism of the vote poured in, including from the United States, with the State Department on Sunday issuing a statement saying the elections were “designed to replace the legitimately elected National Assembly and undermine the Venezuelan people’s right to self-determination.”
“We will continue to take strong and swift actions against the architects of authoritarianism in Venezuela, including those who participate in the National Constituent Assembly as a result of today’s flawed election,” the statement said.
Nikki Haley also responded to it on Twitter:
Maduro’s sham election is another step toward dictatorship. We won't accept an illegit govt. The Venezuelan ppl & democracy will prevail.
— Nikki Haley (@nikkihaley) July 30, 2017