Maduro allies win majority in disputed Venezuela congress election

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CARACAS (Reuters) – Allies of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro won a majority of votes in a parliamentary election that saw scant participation due to a boycott by the opposition, who called Sunday’s event a farce meant to consolidate a dictatorship.

The elections council said that 67.6% of the 5.2 million votes cast in Sunday’s election went to an alliance of parties called the Great Patriotic Pole that backs Maduro.

There were few lines at voting centers. Just 31% of eligible voters participated, according to the council.

The results nonetheless return the congress to Maduro’s control, despite an economy in tatters, an aggressive U.S. sanctions program, and a mass migration exodus.

“Venezuela already has a new National Assembly,” Maduro said, in televised remarks that were muted in comparison with his frequent triumphalism. “A great victory, without a doubt.”

Elections council chief Indira Alfonzo did not specify how many of the 277 seats would go to Maduro allies, based on the 82% of votes counted thus far. That was a departure from typical congressional poll-result announcements that usually break down the distribution of seats.

Vivian Sequera and Deisy Buitrago

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