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Fraud probe delays Venezuela assembly launch

03 Agosto 2017, 02:58 | Bibiana Flor

Fraud probe delays Venezuela assembly launch

Fraud probe delays Venezuela assembly launch

"This is an unprecedented opinion from a firm whose only role in the electoral process is to provide certain services and technical support that has no bearing on the results", Lucena said.

Smartmatic, based in London, said its electronic voting system was tamper-proof as it self-reports interference.

The legitimacy of a powerful new assembly in Venezuela being sworn in on Wednesday was thrown further into question when the voting technology firm involved in its election said the turnout figure was "manipulated".

According to the electoral authority, more than 40 percent of the 20-million-strong electorate voted last Sunday in the election appointing the 545-member Constituent Assembly.

Asked why Smartmatic spoke to the media before the Venezuelan government, he said: "I guess we probably thought that the authorities would not be sympathetic to what we had to say".

The opposition - a sizeable portion of the population - boycotted the vote, and an independent exit poll concluded that less than half the government's figure cast ballots.

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro at a polling station during the Constituent Assembly election in Caracas, Venezuela, on Sunday.

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro says the constituent assembly being granted almost unlimited power to revamp the nation's government won't convene Thursday as originally planned. Maduro's opponents are demanding early presidential elections.

The opposition has warned that the presidential election due in 2018 could also be thrown into limbo.

Venezuela's National Electoral Council (CNE) said that 8,089,320 of people took part in the election.

He said the reason for the delay was that 35 newly elected members had not yet been officially declared by electoral authorities.

He claimed voter turnout was three times higher two weeks ago for an opposition-led, nonbinding referendum against Maduro's proposed Constituent Assembly.

Despite the fraud allegations, preparations proceeded to quickly install the new assembly today.

The Sunday vote was marked by violence, with at least 10 people, including members of security forces, being killing in confrontations around the country.

The opposition contended the vote was rigged in order to pack the assembly with Maduro supporters who could dissolve the opposition-controlled national assembly, and fire officials who disagree with the government.

Ahead of the vote, he argued that the Constituent Assembly would help bring peace to a polarized country, with all branches of the government falling under the political movement founded by his late mentor and predecessor, Hugo Chavez.

For now, the Trump administration has not delivered on threats to sanction Venezuela's oil industry, which could undermine Mr Maduro's government but raise USA fuel prices and deepen the humanitarian crisis in Venezuela.

Maduro has dismissed the criticism leveled at him.

"Why are they sanctioning me?"

The president of the United States, Donald Trump. Internationally, the Venezuelan crisis is viewed as one of the most serious cases of a collapsing middle-income nation-state in modern history and certainly one of the most dramatic and challenging transitions ever seen in the Americas. "The United States calls on all who cherish freedom to condemn the Maduro regime for its abuse of power and its abuse of its own people". A strengthened opposition, even with key leaders placed under arrest, has sought to use this to delegitimise the PSUV's rule and seek fresh elections. Mr. Lopez's lawyer denies the charges.

Plunging oil prices and corruption have resulted in food and medicine shortages.



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