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Ruling party in Venezuela likely to gain legislative seats

December 5, 2005
San Jose Mercury News
By Patricia Rondon Espin

Candidates aligned with President Hugo Chávez were widely expected to increase their legislative majority Sunday as Venezuelans voted for a new National Assembly in an election boycotted by several opposition parties.

Willian Lara, a leading lawmaker in Chávez's governing party, said internal tallies of the Fifth Republic Movement indicated pro-Chávez candidates could sweep all 167 of the assembly's seats.

Chávez earlier dismissed the boycott as a failed ploy to sabotage legitimate elections and avoid an embarrassing defeat, and officials later blamed a pipeline explosion on government opponents.

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