HAVANA TIMES – The National Electoral Council (CNE) of Venezuela declared on Sunday evening Nicolas Maduro the winner of the controversial presidential elections, with almost 68% of the votes, more than triple his weak opponent Henri Falcon (21%), who did not recognize the result, reported dpa.
Maduro received 5.8 million votes to 1.8 for Falcon. Abstention reached 54% as only 46% of the registered voters went to the polls, informed CNE president Tibisay Lucena.
Most of the opposition had called to boycott a vote that it considered fraudulent. The Broad Front alliance said their information showed less than 30 percent actually voted.
Some 20.5 million people were eligible to participate in the elections in the midst of one of the worst economic and social crises in the history of Venezuela.
The oil rich South American country suffers the highest inflation rate in the world, with an accumulated rate that should reach 13,000 percent at the end of the year, according to estimates of the International Monetary Fund. Today on the street or at businesses one US dollar equals over 750,000 bolivars.
Due to the lack of foreign currency after paying debts, Venezuela cannot import much of the food and medicines it needs. Humanitarian organizations have repeatedly warned of a human tragedy taking place, something the Maduro denies.
Hundreds of thousands of Venezuelans abandoned their country in recent months in a massive exodus to neighboring countries, especially Colombia, Brazil, Peru, Chile and Argentina.
Maduro took power in 2013 after the death of his predecessor Hugo Chavez, architect of the so-called “21st century socialism” since 1999.
Chavismo has promoted numerous social programs in the last two decades to help the neediest classes, but it has also been accused of authoritarian tendencies and massive corruption for some time.
In his campaign Maduro had assured that if he received 10 million votes, he would fix the country’s economy. Now it remains to be seen what he will do after receiving 5.8 million.