Maduro installs disputed new Venezuela assembly

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“Our official statement on Monday called on the Venezuelan government to respect human rights and the rule of law, said the election must not be treated as a mandate for further repression and violence, and challenged President Maduro personally to answer the legitimate concerns of the worldwide community about his increasingly authoritarian rule”, Thornberry said. Because opposition parties boycotted the vote, officials said, there were no monitors – which allowed for the manipulation of the numbers.

Mugica said Smartmatic, which has provided electronic voting technology for elections around the world, was able to detect the overstated officially announced turnout because of Venezuela’s automated election system.

Since all candidates for the assembly were Maduro allies, turnout was the key gauge of public support.

Senior opposition leader Henrique Capriles called on Venezuelans to continue defying the deeply unpopular Maduro with new protests against the election and the “massacre” he said accompanied it.

Peru recalled its ambassador to Venezuela in March after the country’s Supreme Court took over the opposition-led congress, but the move was later reversed.

Rodriguez said there could be strong pressure on the owners of Smartmatic by worldwide powers, which have political and business interests in Venezuela.

The Spanish embassy in Venezuela has been hit by explosive devices lobbed by two people on a motorcycle, according to the Associated Press. As one of its first tasks, Maduro has ordered the assembly to declare Ortega Diaz’s office in a state of emergency and entirely restructure it. This comes on top of other assaults on democratic institutions like the judiciary and the news media, as Venezuelan President Nicholas Maduro cements his ruinous rule.

On Thursday, Santos spoke about the constituent assembly and said it was the culmination of destruction of democracy in Venezuela.

Attorney General opens fraud investigation as Nicolas Maduro rejects claim his government inflated turnout figures. Maduro said during the meeting Wednesday night that an additional 2 million people might have voted if they hadn’t been blocked by barricades put up by anti-government protesters.

The opposition says turnout was closer to 3.5 million, mostly state employees fearful for their jobs.

Pre-election polls showed more than 70 percent of all Venezuelans opposed a body to change the constitution.

The Information Ministry referred Reuters to statements National Elections Council chief Tibisay Lucena made in response to Smartmatic’s accusations on Wednesday, prior to the prosecutor’s announcement. On Wednesday, Maduro met with the elected ANC members, telling them the fate of the country is “in your hands”.

Security forces and pro-government motorbike gangs actively stamped out public signs of dissent.

“They are going to install a fraudulent constitutional assembly and no one can say with certitude that these people. were those who won or if they were the product of a scheme”, said congressional leader Julio Borges said.

The US envoy to the United Nations, Nikki Haley, condemned the vote as a “sham” – a word also used by Britain’s junior foreign minister, Alan Duncan, and many experts.

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