Candidates for the government of Nicolas Maduro, whose re-election to the presidency of Venezuela in 2018 is not recognized by the international community, won a landslide in yesterday’s regional elections, according to the official announcement of the National Electoral Council (CNE). Maduro’s candidates won 20 of 23 governor seats and the municipality of Caracas, facing a divided opposition that took part in a vote for the first time since 2017 after boycotting the presidential and legislative elections.

The European Union had deployed an election observation mission, the first in 15 years in this oil country of 30 million inhabitants hit by a serious economic crisis. The mission will report tomorrow. The turnout was 41.8% with 8.1 million voters, according to the provisional official results compared to 90.21% of the votes scrutinized. The opposition has won in three states: the island of Nueva Esparta, Cojedes and above all Zulia, the most populous oil state in the country whose capital is Maracaibo, the second largest city in Venezuela. “Nice triumph, nice victory, nice harvest fruit of the work”, President Maduro immediately exulted, speaking of “overwhelming results”. Before the announcement of the results, the opponent Henrique Capriles, twice second in the presidential elections, had expressed reservations, believing that the late closure of the polling stations was a source of possible fraud.

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