The government of Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro, whose 2018 election is not recognized by part of the international community, won a landslide victory in Sunday’s regional ballot, according to election officials.
Candidates aligned with Maduro have won 20 of the 23 governor posts and the mayorship of the capital Caracas in the face of a divided opposition running in an election for the first time in three years.
The European Union deployed an observer mission for the first time in 15 years to observe the polls that will see the new government seek the lifting of international sanctions on Venezuela while the opposition tries to rebuild in time for the 2024 elections.
The mission will present a report on Tuesday.
Sunday's turnout was 41.8 percent, according to official provisional results after 90.21 percent of ballots were counted.
The opposition won three states including oil-rich Zulia, the country's most populous region whose capital Maracaibo is Venezuela's second-largest city.
“Beautiful triumph, beautiful victory,” Maduro said of the results.
Before the announcement, opposition figure Henrique Capriles expressed reservations about the late closure of polling stations facilitating fraud.
“Maduro and his party ordered the CNE (electoral body) not to close the polling stations when there were no voters... They are going to put votes that do not exist,” he said on Twitter.
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