CARACAS, VENEZUELA (JULY 30, 2017) (GOVERNMENT TV) – Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro cast his ballot on Sunday (July 30) for a constitutional super-body expected to hand sweeping new powers to ruling Socialist Party officials and potentially extend their unpopular rule in the convulsed OPEC nation.
Maduro, widely disliked for overseeing an unravelling of Venezuela’s economy, has promised the assembly will bring peace after four months of opposition protests during which more than 115 people have been killed.
Opposition parties are boycotting what they call a rigged election while their sympathizers plan demonstrations across the country during the day – raising the prospect of violent clashes with security forces.
Critics say the assembly will allow Maduro to dissolve the opposition-run Congress, delay future elections and rewrite electoral rules to prevent the socialists from being voted out.
The vote, which follows the postponement of regional elections and Maduro’s repeated refusal to heed decisions by Congress, has brought global condemnation.