Skerrit congratulates Maduro on electoral victory
Not unexpectedly, Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit today congratulated Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro who was elected for a second six year term
Prime Minister Skerrit said on state-owned DBS Radio that Dominica does not interfere in internal relations of any country and that "based on what we know the elections were held within the confines of the constitution and electoral laws of Venezuela".
President Nicolas Maduro of Venezuela on Sunday won a new six-year term in a controversial vote and the rival candidate called for a new vote.
According to the results announced by Tibisay Lucena, president of the National Electoral Council (CNE), President Maduro obtained 5.8 million votes while his main opponent, Henri Falcon, collected a total of 1.8 million votes.
A total of 8.6 million Venezuelans voted, putting turnout at 46.01 percent, lower than the projected 48 percent, according to the CNE.
Maduro, an unpopular political heir to the late leftist President Hugo Chavez, hailed his win as a victory against "imperialism," but his main rival refused to recognise the results, alleging irregularities.
The country's main opposition coalition, the Democratic Unity Roundtable (MUD), had boycotted the election, while the two most popular opposition leaders, Henrique Capriles and Leopoldo Lopez, were barred from running in the vote.
"They underestimated me," the 55-year-old leader told supporters, as fireworks and confetti were fired in the air.
The United States, which has slapped sanctions on the Maduro government, called the elections a "sham", adding that it would not recognise the results.
President of Chile, Sebastian Pinera, tweeted that his country "like the majority of democratic countries," would not recognise the vote, "it does not represent the free and sovereign will of the people, he added.
Laura Chinchilla, Costa Rica's president, denounced "electoral fraud in Venezuela" and called for the "retreat of ambassadors, and sanctions on members of the regime."
Hyperinflation, food and medicine shortages, rising crime and broken water, power and transportation networks have sparked violent unrest in recent years and left Maduro with a 75 percent disapproval rating.
But Skerrit said today that observers had declared the election "free and fair".
"A government is determined by its people and it is the majority of the people who voted for President Maduro then we in Dominica have no other choice but to recognise or congratulate President Maduro and the people of Venezuela."
Over the years and despite Venezuela's current economic and social difficulties, the oil rich South American country has been one of the Skerrit Administration's strongest benefactors.
Prensa Latina has reported that a number of countries have accepted Maduro's victory including: China, Bolivia, Cuba, Belarus, Laos, Antigua and Barbuda and Palestine.