Venezuela withdraws observer credentials from former president of Bolivia

Jorge Quiroga made some controversial remarks on the elections.

There are some voters still waiting. (Photo: AP)
English 06/12/2015 18:15 AP Caracas Actualizada 18:15
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The Venezuelan Electoral authorities are withdrawing former Bolivian President Jorge Quiroga's credentials as an electoral observer after controversial comments about voting hours.

Quiroga is one of six former presidents invited by Venezuela's opposition to monitor the vote. National Electoral Council President Tibisay Lucena said his credentials would be withdrawn after allegedly calling on authorities to make sure polls close at 6 p.m. as mandated by electoral law.

National Assembly President Diosdado Cabello went one step further and is calling for the expulsion of all six former leaders.

In the meantime, President Nicolás Maduro is saying that the ruling party cannot win every contest.

Maduro had repeatedly vowed in recent weeks to take to the streets if his party lost. Opposition leaders said that if their coalition didn't win it would be because the government cheated.

But the president changed his tone on Saturday.

He said: "In Venezuela, peace and democracy must reign. I've said we'll take the fight to the streets, but maybe I was wrong."

Past Venezuelan elections have been marred by complaints of armed gangs intimidating opposition voters.

There have been few reports of that type of harassment as voting in congressional elections draws to a close. But videos are circulating of high-profile socialist party politicians being booed and heckled as they went to cast their votes.

In the home state of the late president Hugo Chavez, his brother Gov. Adan Chavez drew jeers from a large crowd chanting: "out of here!"

At least four other governors and the pro-government mayor of Caracas also had to pass through gantlets of angry opposition members to cast their ballots.

Venezuela's ambassador to the United Nations is criticizing what he says are efforts by the Obama administration and several American presidential candidates to discredit his country's election even before polling stations opened.

Rafael Ramírez was Venezuela's longtime oil czar and former foreign minister before he was named representative to the UN late last year.

He accompanied Maduro on Sunday as the leader cast his ballot at a school in a working class neighborhood.

Salsa musicians pounded large drums and shouted "como sea," a reference to Maduro's campaign pledge that the socialists would prevail "by any means."

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