Venezuelans are called to vote in the general election. However, observers are concerned that the polls will be fair. To a large extent, the opposition does not even participate.
Caracas (AP) – In the midst of a serious political and economic crisis, Venezuelans elected a new parliament on Sunday. “The day has come to vote for the fatherland, peace and the future,” said President Nicolás Maduro at the start of the elections.
Large sections of the opposition are boycotting the vote because they expect fraud. The Organization of American States (OAS) had already stated in advance that the conditions for free and fair elections were not in place.
Observers therefore assume that the ruling socialist party PSUV will win. This would mean that the opposition in the 29-million-population country on the north coast of South America would lose the last major state institution it controlled. Without a majority in the National Assembly, the legitimacy of self-appointed interim president Juan Guaidó is likely to be questioned.
In total, nearly 21 million Venezuelans are called to elect the new National Assembly for a five-year term. The parliament consists of 277 members. The polling stations are open from 7:00 am (12:00 pm CET) to 6:00 pm (11:00 pm CET). The first results are expected on Monday morning (CET).
Venezuela is in a deep crisis. Guaidó proclaimed himself interim president in early 2019 and was recognized by numerous countries – including Germany and the US – as a legitimate head of state. However, he has not yet managed to defend himself against Maduro. The authoritarian ruling head of state is supported by the powerful army in the power struggle. The United Nations accuses the security forces of serious human rights violations.