Venezuela opposition wins majority in legislative elections

Updated: 2015-12-07 13:43


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Venezuela opposition wins majority in legislative elections

Venezuelan opposition leader Henrique Capriles casts his vote at a polling station during a legislative election, in Caracas, December 6, 2015. [Photo/Agencies]

CARACAS - Venezuela's opposition won control of the legislature from the ruling Socialists for the first time in 16 years on Sunday, giving them a long-sought platform to challenge President Nicolas Maduro.

Election board head Tibisay Lucena said the opposition Democratic Unity coalition won 99 seats to the Socialists' 46 in the 167-national National Assembly with some districts still to be counted.

When she finished speaking, fireworks went off in pro-opposition districts of Caracas.

Maduro, 53, quickly acknowledged the defeat, the worst for the ruling "Chavismo" movement since its founder Hugo Chavez took power in the South American OPEC nation in 1999.

"We are here, with morals and ethics, to recognize these adverse results," Maduro said in a speech to the nation, blaming an "economic war" against him for the results.