Opposition wins Venezuelan parliamentary elections 

Caracas, Dec 7 (IANS) Venezuela’s opposition coalition has won a majority in parliament in Sunday’s legislative elections, the country’s National Electoral Council (CNE) said on Monday.

CNE President Tibisay Lucena said the Democratic Unity Roundtable (MUD) has won 99 out of 167 seats in the national assembly, while the pro-presidential United Socialists Party of Venezuela has taken 46, Xinhua reported.

Lucena said the results for 22 remaining seats had not been confirmed yet.

The result strengthened the opposition’s hand against President Nicolas Maduro though it was short of the super majority the MUD had hoped for. Maduro acknowledged the defeat.

“We have come with our morals, our ethics to acknowledge these adverse results, and to accept them, and to say to Venezuela that the constitution and democracy have triumphed,” said Maduro.

Maduro also spoke highly about the country’s electoral process, saying “it has been a perfect system … without a doubt one of the most wonderful creations of the past 17 years.”

Henrique Capriles, a former presidential candidate and one of the leading figures in the opposition coalition, tweeted: “We won Venezuela! We always said that this was the way, humility, maturity and serenity.”

Capriles, current governor of the state of Miranda, lost to Maduro in the 2013 presidential race. After his loss to the latter, Capriles refused to admit defeat, sparking months of violent protests that left 11 people dead.

Henry Ramos Allup, a new MUD deputy, said the government’s “days are numbered”, suggesting plans to curtail Maduro’s term which ends in 2018.

“Start the countdown. The government is falling apart, it will have trouble reaching its end,” said Allup.

Around 75.25 percent of the country’s nearly 19.5 million eligible voters went to the polls on Sunday in one of the most watched legislative elections in recent years.

The results meant the ruling leftist coalition will have to govern with 52 fewer seats in parliament than it had during the 2011-2015 legislative period.

The MUD, meanwhile, has won 30 more seats, gaining a simple majority, defined as half the 167-seat assembly plus one, with a total of 84 legislators.

Holding a simple majority gives the MUD the power to elect the president and vice president of the parliament, as well as to call for referendum or propose impeachment proceedings against the country’s president.

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