Opposition activists arrested as Venezuelan crisis worsens

Aug 04, 2017, 00:28
Opposition activists arrested as Venezuelan crisis worsens

The company in charge of the election, Smartmatic, even said the official vote count is most likely inflated and inaccurate.

The president of Venezuela's opposition-controlled National Assembly says the legislature will call for an investigation into claims that the official turnout figure in Sunday's election was tampered with and there was a discrepancy of at least 1 million votes.

With so much at stake, a full embargo is probably near the bottom of the Trump administration's battle plan, said Clearview's Book.

China has come out in support of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, defending the country's National Constituent Assembly election as "generally held smoothly", dismissing criticisms from the United States and its junior partners regarding alleged voting irregularities.

She adds that the council reserves the right to seek legal action against what she calls an "irresponsible declaration".

"Nothing can stain this process, because it's transparent", he said at a ceremony for allies elected to the new assembly, vowing electoral authorities would carry out a "100% audit". "Mr. Mugica intends to question the results of an election in which (Smartmatic's) only role was to provide services for this institution".

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin also weighed in on Venezuela's election, condemning Maduro and expressing support for sanctions.

Meanwhile, fissures among Maduro supporters were apparent late Tuesday when three assembly members announced they were abandoning the president's United Socialist Party of Venezuela, or PSUV, to form a dissident bloc in congress.

Of the 545 member of the new assembly, two-thirds were selected by voting district, and the remainder to represent different social or industrial sectors. By apparently winning the turnout contest, Maduro government could thus claim greater public approval. "It is important to point out that this would not have occurred if the auditors of all political parties had been present at the different stages of the election".

Smartmatic chief executive Antonio Mugica said: "Based on the robustness of our system, we know, without any doubt, that the turnout of the recent election for a National Constituent Assembly was manipulated".

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The company charged with tallying the result said the number of votes cast had been altered by a million.

Maduro was to swear in the Constituent Assembly later Wednesday.

"It has been proposed", Maduro said at a ceremony for the new assembly members in the capital, "that the installation of the National Constituent Assembly, instead of being held tomorrow, be organized in peace and calm, with all necessary protocol, on Friday at 11 a.m".

Leopoldo Lopez and Antonio Ledezma, both former mayors of Caracas and staunch critics of Maduro, were seized during overnight raids on Monday.

If President Trump makes good on his threat to slap sanctions on Venezuelan oil or ban shipments to the US, Venezuela would be crippled because that's the country's only source of income.

Key opposition figure and Miranda state Gov. Henrique Capriles said voter participation Sunday was less than 15%.

"This protocol has been followed in all Venezuelan elections since 2004, except for the elections last Sunday, because the opposition didn't participate", Mugica said.

Venezuela's pro-government electoral authority had claimed more than eight million voters took part - 40 percent of the electorate.

While Maduro has referred to the ANC as a peacemaking body, other high-profile socialists have threatened the opposition with violence if they do not accept the unconstitutional move.

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