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Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro after the National Electoral Council announced the results of the vote Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro after the National Electoral Council announced the results of the vote  (AFP or licensors)

Venezuela's President wins a 2nd term in office in disputed poll

Venezuela's National Electoral Council announces that President Nicolas Maduro has won re-election to another six year term. The result was widely expected, because the main oppostion coalition boycotted this process. The vote took place as Pope Francis said he was praying that the Holy Spirit might give all the people of Venezuela “the wisdom to find the path of peace and unity.”

By James Blears

The National Electoral Council says that President Nicolas Maduro won almost sixty eight percent of the vote, defeating his main rival, ex Governor Henri Falcon, by almost forty points. Officials say Maduro won 5.8 million votes, while Falcon got just 1.8 million. They say there was a 46.1 percent turnout.

The opposition insist turnout was barely thirty percent. With opposition leaders Leopoldo Lopez and Henrique Capriles barred from competing, and the opposition coalition steadfastly refusing to take part, the final result was never in any serious doubt.

Former Foreign Minister Delcy Rodríguez, who leads the all powerful Constituent Assembly, which brought the Election forward by almost a year enthused: "Look at the people in the streets. A big democratic fiesta is taking place!"

Henri Falcon has rejected the voting process, which included the scanning of State Benefits cards and ruling socialist party stands too close to polling stations, plus other factors. He says: "We don't recognize the electoral process as valid. We must have new Elections."

This won't happen. What is likely to occur, is another set of crunching economic sanctions from Washington, which is refusing to recognize the Presidential Election.

Listen to James Blears' report
21 May 2018, 16:07