HAVANA TIMES — Venezuelans began voting today to elect the 167 members of the new National Assembly (one-chamber Congress) for the legislative period 2016-2021, amid a marked polarization between the ruling party and the opposition, reported dpa news.
The government of Nicolas Maduro is the closest political and economic ally of Cuban President Raul Castro, and tens of thousands of Cubans are working in government missions in health, education and other fields in the South American country. Cuba gets all of its imported oil from Venezuela and the results of the vote could signal the trend of the future cooperation between two countries.
Over 19 million voters are eligible to cast their ballots with an electronic voting system that has several safety steps. The ruling party, which has dominated the National Assembly for the last decade, has been consistently behind the opposition in pre-election polls.
Voting began peacefully, with some delays at polling places, according to the president of the National Electoral Council (CNE), Tibisay Lucena. The official said that when the time came for the polls to open almost 100 percent of the voting officials at polling centers were ready to begin receiving voters.
Government supporters shot off fireworks early Sunday to call on supporters to come out en masse to cast their votes.
The votes are asked to elect 113 deputies by names, 51 off party lists and three indigenous deputies. The new National Assembly will be installed on January 5.