President Nicolás Maduro thanked “the brave people of Venezuela” for voting in a controversial election for a new Constituent Assembly that will have the power to rewrite his country’s constitution.
The election will allow Maduro to replace Venezuela’s current legislative body — the National Assembly — with the new assembly, made up of 545 members, all nominated by his administration.
Electoral officials in Venezuela say turnout in the controversial election for a constituent assembly was 41.5%, a figure disputed by the opposition.
The opposition coalition said 88% of voters abstained and it refused to recognize the election. It also called for more protests on Monday.
Sunday’s election was marred by violence, with widespread protests and at least 10 people killed.
President Nicolás Maduro hailed the poll as a “vote for the revolution”.
The opposition boycotted the election as a fraud and has called for massive protests to begin again Monday.
Maduro argued that the Constituent Assembly will help bring peace to a polarized country, with all branches of the government falling under the political movement founded by his late mentor and predecessor, Hugo Chavez. But critics say it will erode democracy.
Deadly clashes between protesters and police marred Sunday’s vote, which followed weeks of violent street protests in which many people have been killed or injured. On Sunday the death toll rose sharply with at least ten people — including two teenagers — killed at protests and a National Guard officer also reported dead by the attorney general’s office.