Maduro’s party wins; he now has total control of Venezuela’s political institutions

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Maduro’s party wins; he now has total control of Venezuela’s political institutions

President Nicolás Maduro’s party and allies have won in Venezuela’s legislative elections, boycotted by the main opposition parties.

With over 80% of ballots counted, his coalition had 67.6% of the vote, the National Electoral Council said.

The victory means that Mr Maduro now has total control of the country’s political institutions.

The boycott is being led by opposition leader Juan Guaidó who has been in a two-year power struggle with Mr Maduro.

An opposition bloc which broke the boycott and took part received 18% of the vote, and turnout was 31%, National Electoral Council (CNE) President Indira Alfonzo said.

The National Assembly, the only institution controlled by the opposition, will now be dominated by Mr Maduro’s party and others backing him.

The National Assembly, the legislative body which passes laws and approves the government’s budget, has long been a thorn in the side of the Maduro Administration.

So much so that in 2017 Mr Maduro convened a National Constituent Assembly, exclusively made up of his supporters.

While nominally created to draft a new constitution, the National Constituent Assembly, whose powers supersede those of the National Assembly, instead passed laws, side-lining the opposition-controlled National Assembly.

But the National Assembly retains a key role. Under Venezuela’s constitution, the government needs the National Assembly’s approval to ratify international treaties and to sign major contracts with foreign companies.

Once the new lawmakers are sworn in on 5 January 2021, the checks and balances which the National Assembly is supposed to provide will fall by the wayside.