Maduro claims landslide win in Venezuela state elections

Opposition members shout slogans against Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro during a National Assembly special session in Caracas, Venezuela. (Fernando Llano, AP)
Opposition members shout slogans against Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro during a National Assembly special session in Caracas, Venezuela. (Fernando Llano, AP)

Caracas - President Nicolas Maduro's government won a landslide victory in closely watched regional elections in Venezuela on Sunday, according to official results that the opposition said were "suspicious".

Maduro's socialist party won governorships of 17 of the 23 states with the opposition Democratic Union Roundtable (MUD) coalition taking only five, according to the results announced by the National Elections Council.

The official turnout was 61.14%.

Maduro said his government had scored an "emphatic victory" over its rivals.

"The opposition has five," Maduro underscored in a speech to supporters, adding that his party could win one further state where the results were still in dispute.

READ: Fleeing Maduro critic says Venezuela now lawless

Public opinion surveys had predicted that the opposition would win a majority of state governorships despite alleged government dirty tricks to suppress a high turnout.

Sunday's vote came against the backdrop of an International Monetary Fund report in which it sees Venezuela's economic downturn, and the suffering of its population, continuing.

Venezuela "remains in a full-blown economic, humanitarian, and political crisis with no end in sight", the IMF said in a report on Latin American economies.

International powers accuse Maduro of dismantling democracy by taking over state institutions in the wake of an economic collapse caused by a fall in the price of oil, its main source of revenue.

Sunday's polls were the first contested by the opposition since legislative elections in 2015 that gave it a majority in the National Assembly.

The MUD has seen Maduro's hand strengthened after he faced down four months of protests that killed 125 people, forming a Constituent Assembly packed with his own allies and wresting legislative power from the opposition-dominated National Assembly.

For Maduro, the polls were an opportunity to counter allegations of dictatorship levelled at him at home and abroad after forming the Constituent Assembly.

KEEP UPDATED on the latest news by subscribing to our FREE newsletter.

- FOLLOW News24 on Twitter

News24 (@News24) | Twitter

The latest Tweets from News24 (@News24). News24 is Southern Africa and Africa's premier online news resource reaching over 2.3 million local users each month. South Africa

We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For only R75 per month, you have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today.
Subscribe to News24
Lockdown For
DAYS
HRS
MINS
Voting Booth
As a child or as an adult, have you ever been a victim of bullying?
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
Results
Yes, at school
55% - 1870 votes
Yes, at work
17% - 576 votes
No, I've never experienced this
28% - 954 votes
Vote
USD/ZAR
14.23
(-0.7)
GBP/ZAR
19.86
(+0.2)
EUR/ZAR
17.12
(-0.2)
AUD/ZAR
11.06
(-0.2)
JPY/ZAR
0.13
(-0.2)
Gold
1,770.56
(-0.3)
Silver
25.80
(-0.7)
Platinum
1,210.50
(+0.6)
Brent Crude
66.77
(-0.3)
Palladium
2,823.00
(+1.5)
All Share
68,210
(-0.7)
Top 40
62,461
(-0.7)
Financial 15
12,396
(-0.4)
Industrial 25
88,551
(-0.9)
Resource 10
69,977
(-0.5)
All JSE data delayed by at least 15 minutes Iress logo