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After much expectation, Venezuela´s legislative elections have run smoothly, and President Maduro has called on the opposition to resume the path of dialogue under a new National Assembly.
The elections to select the 277 deputies who will renew the Venezuelan National Assembly from 2021 to 2026 began in the early hours of Sunday. Throughout the day, elections ran smoothly across the nation, with the population attending in an orderly fashion and strict biosecurity measures present everywhere.
President Nicolas Maduro praised the peacefulness of the country's legislative elections, saying that a new era is being born in the nation, and called on the opposition to resume political dialogue.
"Starting today, a new era is born in Venezuela, and we are giving ourselves the opportunity to start a truly democratic process for the recovery of our beloved homeland," said Maduro. "I call on all the opposition to abandon the extremist route ... we ask in one voice for the new United States government to lift all sanctions ... we restore all national dialogue mechanisms and are preparing an electoral agenda," he added.
He also referred to the fact that although violent groups in the country had threatened to carry out vandalism acts to keep some polling stations closed, there were no incidents, and all polling centers remained open.
"We had the patience, the wisdom, to wait for this hour, to wait for this day and get rid of that nefarious National Assembly that attacked Venezuelans, that brought the plague of sanctions, cruelty, and pain, suffering. We had patience, endurance, (and) resistance," he said.
The National Assembly was declared in contempt by the Supreme Court of Justice almost five years ago, and the newly elected 277 deputies will take office in the coming months.
"Today's vote is a vote of rebellion, of independence, to tell the world that Venezuela is nobody's colony, that Venezuela is a free, sovereign and independent country," he said.
More than 20 million Venezuelans were eligible to vote in this Sunday's elections to choose legislators from more than 14,400 candidates registered by 107 national and regional political organizations. Numerous international observers have been present and accompanying the process and made statements as to the transparency of the process.