Venezuelans turn out for unofficial vote

Venezuelan Foreign Minister Samuel Moncada speaks in Caracas

The decision was reversed amid global outcry but unleashed a wave of protests that has left more than 80 people dead and thousands more injured and detained.

Almost 7.2 million Venezuelans-lower than the projected 10.5 million out of 19 million possible voters-cast ballots in the symbolic election against Maduro, university guarantors said with 95 percent of votes counted.

"Today, Venezuela said yes to a dignified country, a democratic country, a country where people do not have to go because they have no future".

Across Venezuela, voters overwhelmingly backed proposals to halt Mr Maduro's plans.

The opposition called backers to 2,000 sites across the country to fill out ballots featuring three yes-or-no questions.

The Protesters' motivation was boosted at the beginning of May when Maduro announced he would call up a constituent assembly to rewrite the country's constitution.

Sunday's vote was a strong but not overwhelming showing that fell short of the 7.7 million votes garnered by the opposition in 2015 legislative elections and the 7.5 million votes that brought Maduro to power in 2013.

"Tomorrow in the National Assembly convening [.] will receive the final results (of Sunday's plebiscite) and will give the commission the ability to name the new magistrates, a process that will culminate on Friday with the naming of the new magistrate in the Supreme Court of Justice of Venezuela", Guevara. The opposition has called for a boycott of that vote.

When asked if the European Union will explore sanctions against Venezuelan leaders, Mogherini echoed the Spanish foreign affairs minister that defended "specific" and "selective" sanctions against "individual" leaders in Venezuela if the elections to the Constituent Assembly are held.

He said some media had passed off photos of government supporters participating in the practice run as if they were opposition sympathisers at their referendum event.

More than seven million voters took part in the unofficial referendum in Venezuela on Sunday, out of a total of 19.5 million eligible voters.

A coalition of some 20 opposition parties met Monday to call for a "zero hour" campaign of civil disobedience in the two weeks leading to the government vote.

"They (MUD) have a quiet consultation today (.) I tell them not to go insane, we make a call for them to return to peace, to sit down and talk, to begin a new cycle of dialogue for peace", said Maduro during a telephone interview with the state-owned Venezolana de Televisión.

Some supporters said they were disappointed.

Late Sunday, the prosecutor-general issued a statement stating that a shooting at the town of Catia had killed the 61-year-old Xiomara Scott and three others outside a voting center.

The opposition is calling on the government to call off the July 30 election of members of a constitutional assembly that would remake the country's political system.

"I signed because there's no medicine, no food, no security", she said. They also want any and all political prisoners to be released.

"That was the fear they had of a recall referendum and for that reason prevented it", he said about the vote that was requested by the opposition and obstructed by judicial measures previous year. The country's chief prosecutor has recently broken with the ruling party.

"Our president Chavez supported the poor, the people", said Yveth Melendez, a 41-year-old homemaker waiting outside a school in the south Caracas neighborhood of El Valle, a stronghold of government support that has been weakening in recent years.


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