Venezuela's ruling Socialist Party has won seventeen of the 23 elections nationwide for Governors in a surprise result. The Opposition had been predicting a very different scenario.
Listen to the report by James Blears:
A jubilant President Nicolas Maduro wasted no time in broadcasting: "Chavism is back and victorious." He's urging the opposition to respect the results reflecting the will of the people.
The Democratic Union Round Table, better known as MUD, claims a very different set of events, insisting widespread fraud and intimidation has taken place, and demanding an immediate investigation. Its campaign Director Gerardo Blyde said: "Neither the Venezuelan people or the World will buy that story. We have suspicions and doubts."
Venezuela's Electoral Council which staunchly supports President Maduro, says 61 percent of 18 million eligible voters went to the polls. Support for the Government has increased since the United States imposed sanctions on Venezuela. MUD has increased its quota of State Governors from three to five. It was expected to win at least three times as many.