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22 May 2018, 08:58 | Bernice Figueroa
At Maduro's closing campaign in central Caracas Maradona surprised the crowd by dancing a catchy reggaeton song while waving a Venezuelan flag
As the results were being announced, residents of Caracas protested just a few blocks from where Mr Maduro's supporters were celebrating. Echoing the views of Venezuela's tattered opposition movement, the United States, European Union and many Latin American countries have said they won't recognize the results.
The disputed victory is likely to heighten worldwide pressure on Mr Maduro.
Senior US State Department officials declared Sunday's vote a "sham" and repeated threats to impose sanctions on Venezuela's all-important oil sector, which is already reeling from falling output, a brain-drain and creaking infrastructure.
Mr Falcon was joined in his demand for a new election by third-place finisher Javier Bertucci, who won around 11% of the vote.
Maduro, who faces a colossal task turning around Venezuela's moribund economy, has offered no specifics on changes to two decades of state-led policies.
Because of the deteriorating situation, an estimated 1.6 million people fled the country between 2015 and 2017, according to the International Organization for Migration. Unconcerned about low turnout, Maduro asserted that even if the opposition had not boycotted the vote, he still would have won.
But he showed no sign of replaying Sunday's vote.
His supporters gathered outside his Miraflores presidential palace in downtown Caracas, celebrating with fireworks. "It doesn't faze me when they say I'm a dictator". Rival candidates have rejected the electoral process and called for new elections.
Venezuela's record-low voter turnout is the latest chapter in the death of its democracy
"In the red points they were engaging in shameless vote manipulation", said Bertucci.
Maduro's opponents accused him, in particular, of intimidating people.
Widespread concern was expressed about the fact that mainly poor Venezuelans were asked to scan state-issued "fatherland cards" at specially installed red tents after voting in hope of receiving a "prize".
Australia urged all Venezuelan political parties to seek a solution to the country's crisis through dialogue. But officials have been hesitant to take that step because adverse consequences - including greater privation for the Venezuelan people and a larger flow of refugees into neighboring countries - are more certain to manifest than a transition to democratic rule.
Small queues of voters, mostly Maduro supporters, formed at some polling stations, but others appeared half empty, Agence France-Presse correspondents reported from several cities.
Falcon called for a new vote, complaining about the government's placing of almost 13,000 pro-government stands called "red spots" close to polling stations nationwide.
"The irony is that this is the least democratic election of all but it's also the best chance the opposition has ever had", said Corrales.
Opinion polls say the overwhelming majority of Venezuelans distrust the electoral council.
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