|Voters queue at a polling station in the western Venezuelan city of San Cristobal during regional elections to elect state governors. — AFP/VNA Photo|Viet Nam News
CARACAS — President Nicolas Maduro’s government won a landslide victory in closely watched regional elections in Venezuela on Sunday, according to official results.
Maduro’s socialist party won governorships of 17 of the 23 states with the opposition Democratic Union Roundtable (MUD) coalition taking only five, according to the results announced by the National Elections Council.
The official turnout was 61.14 per cent.
Maduro said his government had scored an "emphatic victory" over its rivals.
"The opposition has five," Maduro underscored in a speech to supporters, adding that his party could win one further state where the results were still in dispute.
Public opinion surveys had predicted that the opposition would win a majority of state governorships.
Sunday’s vote came against the backdrop of an International Monetary Fund report in which it sees Venezuela’s economic downturn, and the suffering of its population, continuing.
Sunday’s polls were the first contested by the opposition since legislative elections in 2015 that gave it a majority in the National Assembly. — AFP