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Venezuela votes for parliament as opposition denounces fraud

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CARACAS (Reuters) – Venezuelans on Sunday choose a new congress in an election that the opposition is boycotting and most Western nations call a fraud by President Nicolas Maduro to retake the last state institution not in the hands of the ruling Socialist Party.

The vote is almost certain to return congress to Maduro’s allies despite his government struggling with an economy in ruins, aggressive U.S. sanctions that stifle the OPEC nation’s oil exports, and the migration of some 5 million citizens.

Members of the new congress will have few tools to improve the lives of Venezuelans whose monthly salaries rarely cover the cost of a day’s groceries, nor will their election improve Maduro’s reputation among Western nations for mismanagement and undermining of human rights.

It could, however, provide legitimacy for Maduro to offer investment deals to the few companies around the world willing to risk running afoul of Washington’s sanctions for access to the world’s largest oil reserves.

Many Venezuelans struggling with basic needs such as electricity, security and food express weariness with the country’s politicians, who they say have done nothing to stem the slide in living conditions.

Reporting : Brian Ellsworth

Photo Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido (C) speaks during a rally in Caracas, Venezuela, 01 December 2020. Venezuela will hold national assembly elections of 06 December 2020. EPA-EFE/MIGUEL GUTIERREZ

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