Opponents slam Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro's election victory as a sham

Venezuela's record-low voter turnout is the latest chapter in the death of its democracy

International outcry grows after Maduro wins presidential election

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo issued a statement calling the election an "attack on constitutional order" and said the United States would bring "swift economic and diplomatic actions" to support democracy in Venezuela.

"This is a speeding train that is headed straight toward disaster; there is no plan that the government appears to have at the moment that could fix it", said Phil Gunson, a Caracas-based analyst at the International Crisis group.

As voting took place on Sunday, a senior State Department official warned that the USA might press ahead on threats of imposing crippling oil sanctions, according to the AP. The country has been further hit by falling oil exports and USA imposed sanctions.

"I'm hungry and don't have a job, but I'm sticking to Maduro", said Carlos Rincones, 49, in the once-thriving industrial city of Valencia, accusing right-wing business owners of purposefully hiding food and hiking prices.

Without a viable path for political change and economic recovery, some Venezuelans are desperately hoping for long-shot measures, including a foreign military invasion or a military coup.

Falcon's team said it received about 900 complaints about the 'red points.' Several state workers also told Reuters they were pressured to vote, while pro-government activists hovered around some polling stations, saying they were assisting voters. A Treasury Department release said he is "referred to as the second most powerful man in Venezuela - after Maduro". "Abstention", said Delcy Rodriguez, head of the Maduro-created constituent assembly that rules supremely over all other government bodies.

Briceida Vallenilla, 50, an out-of-work beautician who voted for Falcon, surveyed an empty polling place in the working-class Caracas neighborhood of San Juan. The woman, who would not give her name out of fear of reprisals, also said that she felt compelled to vote for Mr. "Another reason is Venezuela's cooperation with Russian Federation", the expert added.

Maduro stated he had followed Chavez's legacy, adding: "I will dedicate my life to fixing the economy of this country". In particular, many suspect that former Vice President Diosdado Cabello has his eyes on the Miraflores presidential palace. Instead, the boycotting party usually emerges weaker and the incumbent empowered.

"I'm not absolutely sure Maduro's power will be consolidated on Sunday", Gunson said.

Opposition leader Omar Barboza said Monday that the Broad Front and the United Democratic Roundtable will push for a "free, transparent" election with worldwide observers in the last trimester of 2018. "And those may come to the fore after the elections". Washington has already slapped more than 60 current and former Venezuelan officials, including Maduro, with financial sanctions.

Venezuela reportedly insisted on official representatives especially from the Election Commission.

"The Americans have been maintaining sanctions pressure on Venezuela, limiting the country's companies' access to the worldwide banking system, thus exacerbating the economic crisis" he said. The political opposition has had to abandon large-scale protests given Venezuelans' fear of repression by security services and their focus on merely finding the basic goods they need to survive.

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