Venezuela’s Guaido launches ‘popular consultation’ as Maduro tightens grip on power

Venezuela’s opposition leader Juan Guaido launched a week-long plebiscite on Monday as President Nicolas Maduro claimed victory in legislative elections boycotted by most of his opponents and criticised by Western leaders.

Caracas, Dec. 10.– Guaidó, the country’s self-proclaimed interim president, had called for a boycott of Sunday’s legislative polls, which saw the ruling United Socialist Party claim control of an expanded 277-seat National Assembly – the only branch of government previously not in Maduro’s hands.

"Today Venezuela wakes up with a new dawn of peace, joy, unity and strengthening of democratic institutions," Maduro said on Twitter.

Maduro and his left-wing allies had 68.4 percent of the vote with 98.6 percent of ballots counted, the National Electoral Council said.

Most Venezuelans turned their back on the polls however, with turnout at just 31 percent.

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