Venezuela's Maduro Election Win Slammed As Sham

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Venezuela's socialist President Nicolas Maduro faced global condemnation on Monday (May 21) after his re-election in a vote foes denounced as a farce that cemented autocracy in the crisis-stricken oil-producing nation.

The European Union had already imposed sanctions on seven top Venezuelan officials including the head of the pro-government election council in January.

"It's evident we are the resounding majority those who want a new Venezuela", said Henrique Capriles, one of Venezuela's most prominent opposition leaders.

Mainly poor Venezuelans were asked to scan state-issued "fatherland cards" at red tents after voting in hope of receiving a "prize" promised by Maduro, which opponents said was akin to vote-buying.

President Nicolas Maduro was unsurprisingly declared victor of Venezuela's election on Sunday (Monday in Manila) in a poll rejected as invalid by his rivals, who immediately called for fresh elections to be held later this year.

Hours after Nicolas Maduro claimed victory in an election plagued by irregularities and boycotted by the opposition, Trump signed an executive order further tightening financial pressure on the regime.

The election board, which is run by Maduro loyalists, said Mr Maduro took 5.8 million votes, versus 1.8 million for his chief challenger Henri Falcon, a former governor who broke with the boycott to stand.

During the previous elections, polling stations were kept open beyond its closing time at 6 pm.

The Democratic Unity coalition, which was boycotting the vote, estimated turnout at 25.8 percent by 1pm EDT based on its own quick count estimates.

In the case of Panama, where the Foreign Ministry released a similar statement, the decision reflects increasing tensions between the two countries ever since Panama included Maduro and other Venezuelan senior officials in a list of individuals considered "high risk" for money laundering in March. He says: "We don't recognize the electoral process as valid".

Falcon's quick rejection of Sunday's election, and call for a new vote, was therefore a blow to the government's strategy.

"Sooner or later, they all break in the face of threats from the imperialists", he said, pleading with the USA to reconsider its belligerence.

Mr Maduro also fell well short of the 10 million votes he said he wanted to win throughout the campaign.

At many polling places on Sunday, people cast their vote and then visited a so-called Red Spot - named for the ruling Socialist Party's color - set up nearby.

National Electoral Council President Tibisay Lucena acknowledged a handful of complaints, but insisted they were minor compared to past elections.

Opposition leaders said the lifeless voting centers were evidence that Venezuelans heeded their call to abstain from voting in an election they contended was certain to be rigged in Maduro's favour. "If the other right wing countries that are supported by the USA want to dialogue, I am open to that", he said.

"If you're sick and the doctor gives you few days to live, you don't lay in bed waiting to die", she said.

Venezuelan officials have declared socialist leader Nicolas Maduro the victor of Sunday's presidential election. "That's what we need to do with our country".

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