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Venezuela claims 41.5% turnout in violent constituent assembly vote

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro claimed victory in an election to pick a controversial new constitution-writing body, that prompted deadly violence

31 July 2017, 8:21am
Armed police stand guard after a bomb attack injured seven of their colleagues in Caracas on Sunday
Armed police stand guard after a bomb attack injured seven of their colleagues in Caracas on Sunday
Venezuelans on Sunday largely snubbed Nicolas Maduro’s election for a new political assembly with only 41.5% of the electorate turning up in a vote marred by violence that killed at least 10 people and left seven police officers injured by a bomb attack.

Opposition leaders rejected the electoral commission’s turnout figure of 8.1 million, saying only about 2 million had actually voted. Analysts estimated the turnout at 3 to 4 million.

The opposition coalition refused to recognise the election and has called for more protests on Monday.

However, Venezuela's National Electoral Council announced on Sunday that the electorate had voted to grant Maduro's ruling Socialist Party virtually unlimited powers with a Constituent Assembly.

"We have a constituent assembly," Maduro said in a speech to hundreds of supporters in central Caracas.

"It is the biggest vote the revolution has ever scored in its 18-year history."

Maduro was referring to the year his mentor Hugo Chavez came to power.

Venezuela's new constituent assembly will have powers to rewrite the constitution and override the opposition-controlled congress.

Maduro said it is the only way to restore peace after months of protests and political stalemate. But his critics describe it as a power grab.