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Venezuelan Ruling Party Claims Election Victory


The leader of Venezuela's ruling party is claiming victory in Sunday's parliamentary elections.

Willian Lara says President Hugo Chavez's Fifth Republic Movement won 114 seats in the 167-seat National Assembly. Mr. Lara also says the rest of the Assembly's contested seats will go to parties supportive of Mr. Chavez. Official results have yet to be announced.

Venezuela's election chief estimates voter turnout at just 25 percent.

Most opposition parties boycotted the election, accusing electoral officials of manipulating electronic voting machines and favoring the president.

Mr. Chavez is accusing the United States of orchestrating the boycott. Washington denies the charges.

Meanwhile, officials say an explosion that damaged an oil pipeline in western Venezuelan state of Zulia late Saturday was an attempt to disrupt the elections.

Some information for this report provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.

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