Tuesday, February 18, 2020

Venezuela votes on constituent assembly

BBC:-Voting is under way in Venezuela to elect a new assembly with powers to rewrite the constitution.

The opposition is boycotting the vote which it says is a power grab by President Nicolás Maduro.

The government says the constituent assembly is the only way to bring peace back to the country after months of violent protests.

On the eve of the vote, protesters blocked roads in the capital Caracas in defiance of a ban on demonstrations.

In a speech broadcast on TV, President Maduro predicted a “big victory”, calling the vote “the most important election held in Venezuela’s political system”.

However, electoral council chief Tibisay Lucena acknowledged that some voting machines had been attacked and burned in parts of the country.

Oil-rich Venezuela is gripped by a political crisis with soaring inflation and daily food shortages. Violent demonstrations since April have left more than 100 people dead.

Many residents in Caracas were stocking up on essential items on Saturday in case unrest left shops closed into Monday, correspondents said.

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