Maduro eyes ‘big victory’ in Venezuela vote

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CARACAS: Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro predicted a “big victory” in a contentious vote Sunday for a new law-making body that is dogged by deadly protests and opposition claims he’s moving to outright dictatorship. Authorities said late Saturday that virtually all was ready for the election of the 545-member Constituent Council that will have power to dissolve the legislature as it takes on the task of rewriting the constitution. However, electoral council chief Tibisay Lucena acknowledged that “we have had attacks and (voting) machines burned” in parts of the country, confirming images circulating on Twitter. International alarm has risen over the deepening crisis in the impoverished yet oil-rich South American nation of 30 million people. Several foreign airlines have suspended flights to the country, and families of US diplomats there have been ordered to leave.

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