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Venezuela opposition wins control of country's legislature

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Core Tip:Election officials in Venezuela say the opposition has won control of the country's legislature, delivering a stunning defeat to the ruling Socialist party.

Election officials in Venezuela say the opposition has won control of the country's legislature, delivering a stunning defeat to the ruling Socialist party.


Authorities say the opposition, with two seats yet to be determined, won 110 of the 167 seats in the National Assembly, with the Socialist party winning just 55.


Winning the other two seats would give the opposition coalition a two-thirds majority in the National Assembly, potentially allowing it to fire Supreme Court justices, begin a process that would recall the president, even call an assembly to rewrite the constitution.


Whether the opposition achieves the supermajority or not, the results are a major setback for the long-dominant, ruling socialists who have led the country for 16 years.


Opposition leaders vowed Monday to use their new majority to free jailed opponents of the Socialist government, but also said they would not move to dismantle popular welfare policies.


The 53-year-old president, who was handpicked by Chavez, quickly accepted defeat in a televised speech to the nation early Monday that calmed fears of violence.

 

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