Venezuela’s opposition has won a key two-thirds majority in legislative elections, according to final results, dramatically strengthening its hand in any bid to wrest power from President Nicolás Maduro after 17 years of socialist rule. More than 48 hours after polls closed in the mid-term election, the National Electoral Council published the final tally on its website, confirming that the last two undecided races went the opposition coalition’s way, giving them 112 out of 167 seats in the national assembly. The ruling socialist party and its allies got 55 seats. The announcement ends two days of suspense in which Maduro’s opponents claimed a much larger margin of victory than initially announced by electoral authorities.
The outcome, better than any of the opposition’s most optimistic forecasts, gives the coalition an unprecedented strength in trying to rein in Maduro as well as the votes needed to sack supreme court justices and even remove Maduro from office by convening an assembly to rewrite Hugo Chávez’s 1999 constitution.
Maduro’s comments following the results show he is likely to resist their efforts.
Even while recognising defeat in the parliament, the former bus driver and union organiser blamed the “circumstantial” loss on a rightwing “counter-revolution” trying to sabotage Venezuela’s oil-dependent economy and destabilise the government.