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World News

Maduro allies win 91% of Venezuela congress seats after disputed vote

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CARACAS (Reuters) - Allies of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro won 91% percent of the legislature’s seats following a vote on Sunday that was boycotted by the opposition and disavowed by the United States and the European Union.

Opposition leaders and most Western nations said the election was stacked in favor of Maduro, who has been widely criticized for his human rights record and for undermining democracy to stay in power.

Candidates from the ruling Socialist Party and allied parties took 253 of 277 seats in the new parliament, according to figures posted on the National Electoral Council’s website on Wednesday.

Democratic Action, a long-time opposition party that is now widely accused of being in league with the government, won 11 seats, according to the council’s data.

Earlier in the year, the supreme court had put opposition parties in the hands of politicians expelled from those parties for alleged links to Maduro - one of the reasons the opposition had called for a boycott.

Opposition leader Juan Guaido, the current chief of parliament, is calling on sympathizers to participate in a Dec. 12 consultation that will ask citizens whether they reject the results of Sunday’s vote and if they want a change of government.

Maduro says Guaido is a puppet of the United States and that Venezuela’s economic situation is the result of U.S. sanctions that have crippled the OPEC member’s oil exports and prevented it from importing fuel.

Reporting by Mayela Armas and Brian Ellsworth; editing by Grant McCool

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