Venezuela's voter turnout figures tampered with

"The circumstances under which the election took place raise further doubts about the ability of the Constituent Assembly to effectively represent all components of the Venezuelan population", EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Federica Mogherini said.

Antonio Mugica told reporters in London on Wednesday that there was a discrepancy of 1 million votes between the turnout figures announced by the government and those recorded by his systems.

Venezuela jailed two leading Maduro critics on Tuesday in a fresh blow to the opposition after deadly protests erupted around Sunday's election, prompting the U.S. to impose sanctions on the president.

While Venezuela's old allies, Bolivia, Cuba, Nicaragua and Russian Federation, supported the Sunday vote for the formation of the new 545-member body, the United States, the European Union, Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Mexico, Spain, Canada and Peru denounced the vote, saying the Constituent Assembly can destroy the Venezuelan democracy and institutionalize autocracy there.

Tibisay Lucena, president of the national electoral Council. The opposition has called for protests against the inauguration.

This is the first time ever, that Smartmatic - which has been providing the electoral machinery since 2004 -has contradicted the CNE electoral board in Venezuela.

The European Union is refusing to recognize Venezuela's new assembly tasked with rewriting the constitution, saying it could undermine the country's institutions.

On Wednesday night, one Labour MP, Chris Williamson, attacked fresh United States government sanctions on Caracas and suggested that people protesting against the Maduro government had been put up to it by right-wing opposition.

Maduro faces mounting accusations at home and overseas of trampling on democracy with his "Constituent Assembly", elected Sunday in a vote boycotted by the opposition and allegedly marred by fraud.

For now, the Trump administration has not delivered on threats to sanction Venezuela's oil industry, which could undermine Mr Maduro's government but raise USA fuel prices and deepen the humanitarian crisis in Venezuela.

White House paints Handel win as Trump triumph
But some rank-and-file House Democrats scoffed at such explanations and raised questions about Pelosi's continued leadership. Xavier Becerra, departed the House in late 2016 to accept an appointment as California's attorney general.

With the opposition boycotting the election, virtually all the candidates were supporters of Mr Maduro's ruling socialist party.

USA oil markets had a muted reaction to the Maduro sanctions, although experts said financial sanctions may be the only way to influence Maduro.

Zeid says he is deeply concerned opposition leaders Leopoldo Lopez and Antonio Ledezma once again were in jail. Any sanctions by the United States - aside from the dubious moral authority of the Trump administration - feed Mr.

The dissident group said Friday's protest was being held "to defend the constitution".

The Supreme Court accuses the two of breaking the terms of their house arrest for previous opposition activities and planning to flee the country.

He also repeated the government's stance that eight million people voted, adding that the turnout would have been 10 million if others had not been blocked by protesters.

That could suit Maduro, whose support is around 20 percent according to surveys by the polling firm Datanalisis.

The U.S. sanctions against Maduro could be followed by an "escalatory process" to include oil-related transactions depending on how far the Venezuelan government goes in implementing the new congress, according to a person familiar with the White House deliberations.

Russia, however, threw its weight behind Maduro and the election, backing the government turnout figure.

Venezuela's current 1999 constitution brought sweeping structural reforms sought by Maduro's predecessor, left-wing populist Hugo Chavez, to implement large social programmes.


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