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MOSCOW, July 31. /TASS/. The turnout at the elections to Venezuela’s Constitutional Assembly held on Sunday has turned out very low, said Julio Borges, Speaker of the National Assembly (unicameral parliament) controlled by the opposition. According to the information provided by the National Electoral Council (CNE), about 19.4 million voters were invited to take part in the elections.
"According to our estimates and internal information coming from the CNE, less than 7% of voters came to the polling stations," Borges told a news conference. "We said that by 15:00 (22:00 Moscow Time), slightly over one million people cast their ballots."
The parliament speaker also asserted that the government plans to announce that *8.5 million people" took part in the voting, which began at 06:00 local time (13:00 Moscow Time).
President Nicolas Maduro’s political opponents held a people’s referendum without the National Electoral Council's partiticipation to find out the population’s attitude towards the authorities’ initiative, specifically, convening the Constitutional Assembly. According to the organizers of the vote, about 7.2 people took part in it. Of these, 98.4% opposed the establishment of this body, which can amend the country’s constitution.
In early May Maduro decided to convene the Constitutional Assembly without holding a preliminary referendum. That led to the aggravation of the situation in the country, which at that time was rocked by large-scale anti-government protests. They were accompanied by clashes with law enforcers, riots and loss of lives.
To date, more than 110 people have died and thousands have been injured during the protests staged by the opposition. The authorities arrested about 4,900 protesters, nearly 1,400 of them remain in custody.