Socialist leader Nicolas Maduro has won a second six-year term as President of Venezuela, the Associated Press reports.
Maduro won nearly 68 percent of the votes, beating his nearest rival Henri Falcon by almost 40 points. This was announced by The National Election Council, with almost 93 percent of polling stations reporting.
Maduro’s win comes as no surprise. According to Reuters, turnout at the election was just 46.1 percent. Maduro took 5.8 million votes, versus 1.8 for Henri Falcon.
As the Inquisitr reported earlier today, Maduro was expected to win in a landslide, in what is a deeply impoverished country, rife with corruption and poverty. Today, Venezuelans gathered around polling stations, scanning their state-issued cards used to receive benefits, like money transfers and food boxes, at government-created “red point” zones.
There “red point” zones were set up after Maduro had promised “really good prize” to those who scan their cards. Maduro’s critics and opponents used “red point” zones to dispute the legitimacy of the Venezuelan election, comparing Madur’s tactics to intimidation and vote-buying.
Following Madur’s win, the Associated Press noted, the opposition further argued that Maduro’s victory lacked legitimacy because many voters stayed home, refusing to vote in “rigged” elections. Apart from that, the loyalist electoral council, Maduro’s heavy use of government resources, and a ban on two of his most popular rivals are, as the Inquisitr noted, often cited as reasons to doubt in the legitimacy of his victory.
Maduro may have won, but he will likely face a backlash, even sanctions, from the international community. U.S. Deputy Secretary of State John Sullivan told Reuters that the Trump administration would not recognize the election and was, in fact, considering sanctions.
“We need to make sure we adhere to our goal which is to target corrupt regime officials and not the people of Venezuela. We don’t want to damage the country in a way that makes it difficult to repair after democracy is restored,” Sullivan said.
Two days ago, the Trump administration announced sanctions against one of Venezuela’s most powerful politicians, the New York Times noted, signaling what may happen in the near future.
After embracing the results of the election, Nicolas Madur, according to the Associated Press, said that he is ready to meet with Falcon, his nearest rival, in order to discuss the future of the country.
Apart from poverty, Venezuela is having trouble with what Reuters has called “Mad Max Violence,” which is a result of the economic implosion and widespread hunger the South American country has experienced under President Nicolas Maduro.