Venezuela: Assembly campaign head asks electoral council to check vote tally

Posted August 06, 2017

The U.S. State Department said Thursday the assembly was illegitimate, reiterating a call by Secretary of State Rex Tillerson for Maduro to leave office or face unspecified actions to "return the government processes back to the constitution".

The Chilean foreign minister said that a judge from Venezuela's alternative top court took shelter on Thursday at the Chilean Embassy in Caracas, which already hosts four his colleagues and an opposition leader.

"The only way they'll get us out of here is by killing us", said opposition spokesman Freddy Guevara.

"We thank the people of Venezuela and the worldwide community for their concern and solidarity". The request, filed to a lower court in an apparent attempt to circumvent the government-stacked Supreme Court, was dismissed Friday on procedural grounds.

The results have come under mounting scrutiny after the worldwide company that provided the electronic voting machines said that "without any doubt" the official turnout had been tampered with - a charge dismissed by Maduro and the National Electoral Council.

"He is contradicting his own statements (on previous processes), moreover, his company provides services which do not replace in any way Venezuela's electoral power", said Rodriguez.

Maduro faces accusations at home and overseas of trampling on democracy with the election last weekend of the assembly in a vote boycotted by the opposition and allegedly marred by fraud. Mugica claimed to have identified that the "difference between the announced figure and the number produced by the system is at least 1 million voters".

Ortega, one of Maduro's most vocal critics, has ordered an investigation into "scandalous" electoral fraud, after a British-based technology firm contracted for the vote, Smartmatic, said Maduro had exaggerated the turnout. He also repeated the government's stance that eight million people voted, adding that the turnout would have been 10 million if others had not been blocked by protesters.

The vote, boycotted by the opposition, was held on Sunday.

The statement comes as the body's 545 delegates were expected to be installed at the legislative palace in the capital, Caracas, close to the chamber where the opposition-controlled National Assembly meets.

Pre-election polls showed more than 70 percent of all Venezuelans opposed a body to change the constitution.

In the aftermath of the vote, the United States imposed direct sanctions on Maduro, calling him a "dictator", while the European Union joined the US, Mexico, Colombia and Argentina in saying it would not recognize the new assembly.

The United States on Monday slapped economic sanctions on Maduro, just one day after Venezuela held elections for the ANC.