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Venezuela's ruling socialists win big in regional vote; opposition claims fraud

Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro's ruling Socialist Party won 17 of 23 state governorships in the Oct. 15 regional election that drew turnout of over 61%, the pro-government National Electoral Council said, BBC and Reuters reported.

The country's opposition took only six governorships, with its leaders alleging election fraud without immediately offering evidence and calling for street protests and a complete audit of the votes.

Maduro's party reclaimed the populous Miranda state, which includes part of the Venezuelan capital of Caracas, according to Reuters. Among the states the opposition won were Bolivar and the oil-producing region of Zulia.

Maduro ordered a full audit of the election results, saying it was proof of transparency.

Opposition supporters now hoping that foreign sanctions will force Maduro to change course. The U.S. and Canada placed sanctions on Maduro and several Venezuelan officials earlier this year, while the EU is also reportedly working on sanctions against his regime.