Nicolas Maduro has declared victory in a controversial Venezuela election last night, winning another six years in office.
It’s thought the vote, which saw Maduro’s rivals condemn the vote even before the result was known, will prompt further sanctions from the US and worsen the economic crisis in the country.
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The US has no plans to recognise the Venezuela election.
Meanwhile, European Union and Latin American countries have also criticised the process, branding it a farce.
Venezuela’s electoral authority reported Maduro won almost 70% of the 8.6 million votes cast, while his biggest rival Henri Falcon, took a little over 20%.
Turnout was low, however, at a woeful 48%, according to the head of the electoral authority and making it the lowest for a presidential election since Hugo Chavez took power in 1998.
Maduro — who has been in power for 19 years — has presided over soaring food prices, widespread hunger, a rising crime rate, a failing health system and a large-scale exodus of its citizens.
Electricity and running water are luxuries and malnutrition is rampant. Some one million people are thought to have left the country in the past four years alone.
Economists fear inflation may hit 13,000% in the country this year, alongside an economic contraction of almost 10%. Venezula’s bolivar is down 99% in the past year.
Last night Maduro, 55, addressed a crowd of supporters outside the presidential palace in Caraca.
He was quoted by Bloomberg:
How many times have they underestimated me? You have believed in me, and I’m going to respond to this infinite confidence, this lovely confidence.
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They say you were forced to vote, that you were coerced into voting — it’s an insult to the people!
Falcon, a 56-year-old former state governor, said: “The process undoubtedly lacks legitimacy and as such we do not recognise it.”
Last week US President Donald Trump’s administration announced sanctions on Venezuelan politician, Diosdado Cabello, a top Socialist Party figure who is accused of drug trafficking, extortion, money laundering and embezzling government money.
Sanctions against the nation’s oil industry are under “active review”, according to US deputy secretary of state John Sullivan, though there are fears punishing the nation’s oil industry could hurt a population already suffering.
The US mission to the United Nations called the process an “insult to democracy”, via Twitter ahead of the vote.
Today’s so-called “election” in Venezuela is an insult to democracy. We will continue to stand with the Venezuelan people fighting for a brighter future for their country. It's time for Maduro to go.
— US Mission to the UN (@USUN) May 20, 2018