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Maduro warns of US plot to overthrow Venezuela's government

VENEZUELAN President Nicolas Maduro warned of a US plot to overthrow the country’s progressive government after his party swept to a decisive victory in yesterday’s municipal elections.

The United Socialist Party of Venezuela won 142 of the 156 declared municipalities in what was Venezuela’s fifth election in just 18 months, said National Electoral Council chair Tibisay Lucena after early results came in.

Critics pointed to a low turnout, with an abstention rate of just over 70 per cent of the 20.7 million eligible voters.

However, Mr Maduro warned of US attempts to undermine his government, which Washington is preparing to add to a list of countries that sponsor and support terrorism.

Peru’s right-wing government has said it will ask the 12 members of the pro-Washington Lima Group, which includes several Latin American and Caribbean states along with Canada, to break off relations with Venezuela from January 10, when Mr Maduro begins his second term of office.

The four largest US-backed right-wing opposition groups did not participate in Sunday’s poll, having refused to complete the required papers to register for the elections.

They also abstained from May’s presidential elections, claiming that the National Electoral Council was not to be trusted and that there was a lack of equality for political participation.

Casting his vote in Caracas, Mr Maduro urged citizens to use their vote and ensure they continue to live in a democracy, highlighting the nine elections that have taken place under his presidency.

Speaking in an address broadcast on state television, Mr Maduro said: “An attempt is under way today, coming straight from the White House, to destroy our way of life in Venezuela and to overthrow our constitutional democracy.” 

He insisted: “Despite the conspiracies that come from the White House to divide our country, we have a strong democracy.”

Venezuela’s Bolivarian revolution has come under sustained pressure from the US, whose President Donald Trump was reportedly considering a military intervention earlier this year. 

Mr Maduro believes Washington was behind an assassination attempt that involved a drone opening fire on him during a military parade in August. 

He is due to start his second six-year term as president next month after achieving a comfortable victory in May’s election. 

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