U.S. calls Venezuela vote a 'sham,' says will not accept result

U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley addresses the U.N. Security Council as it meets to discuss the recent ballistic missile launch by North Korea at U.N. headquarters in New York, U.S., July 5, 2017. REUTERS/Mike Segar

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The election for a new constitutional super-body being held in Venezuela under President Nicolas Maduro is a “step toward dictatorship” and the United States will not accept an illegitimate government in Caracas, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley said on Sunday.

Haley offered Washington’s first official response to Sunday’s ballot as deadly protests rocked Venezuela where voters broadly boycotted the election, which Maduro has vowed would begin a “new era of combat” in the crisis-stricken oil-producing nation.

“Maduro’s sham election is another step toward dictatorship,” Haley said in a message on Twitter. “We won’t accept an illegit govt. The Venezuelan ppl & democracy will prevail.”

Reporting by Matt Spetalnick; Editing by Sandra Maler