Millions vote in Venezuela poll
CARACAS (Reuters) – More than 7 million Venezuelans voted in Sunday’s unofficial referendum held by the opposition to heap pressure on President Nicolas Maduro and repudiate his plan to rewrite the OPEC nation’s constitution, monitors said.
The symbolic plebiscite was aimed at denting Maduro’s legitimacy further amid a crippling economic crisis that has left millions struggling to eat and months of anti-government unrest that has killed nearly 100 people.
Opposition leaders hailed it as a success, while also mourning the death of one woman killed by gunmen in Caracas during the voting.
“Today, July 16, dignity won and tyranny lost,” said opposition leader Maria Corina Machado. “We have given an indisputable mandate for a new Venezuela starting tomorrow.”
Maduro, 54, dismissed Sunday’s poll as unconstitutional and is campaigning instead for a July 30 vote to create a legislative superbody that would have the power to rewrite the constitution and dissolve state institutions.