Chavez set for victory

Venezuelans have voted in a congressional election, with candidates allied to Hugo Chavez, the president, expected to sweep most seats after the main opposition boycotted the poll.

    An election official checks a roll of voters at the poll on Sunday

    Hours before voting began, an oil pipeline in the west of the country was damaged in a blast that the government said was terrorism.

    Jose Vicente Rangel, the vice-president, said on state television: "This is a miserable terrorist attack."

    Rafael Ramirez, the energy minister, said the blast at a pipeline supplying the country's huge Amuay-Cardon refinery had not affected fuel supplies and that the fire was under control.

    Chavez, a former army officer allied with Cuba, has accused Washington for orchestrating the opposition walkout to try to
    destabilise his. But he said the boycott included only a minority of candidates who will not invalidate the vote.

    Main opposition groups said they would abstain from voting after accusing electoral authorities of favouring the populist, left-wing leader and manipulating electronic voting machines. They had previously agreed to participate in the election.

    Polls indicated a convincing lead for deputies backing President Chavez even before the boycott was announced.

    Pedro Zamora, a pensioner who was voting in eastern Chacao district, said: "The opposition are just a bunch of thieves who tried to sabotage the election. We can see the government are going to get most of the votes."

    SOURCE: Reuters


    YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

    Survivor stories from Super Typhoon Haiyan

    Survivor stories from Super Typhoon Haiyan

    The Philippines’ Typhoon Haiyan was the strongest storm ever to make landfall. Five years on, we revisit this story.

    How Moscow lost Riyadh in 1938

    How Moscow lost Riyadh in 1938

    Russian-Saudi relations could be very different today, if Stalin hadn't killed the Soviet ambassador to Saudi Arabia.

    We Are Still Here: A Story from Native Alaska

    We Are Still Here: A Story from Native Alaska

    From Qatar to Alaska, a personal journey exploring what it means to belong when your culture is endangered.