CARACAS, Venezuela – Venezuela's pro-government constitutional assembly ordered new gubernatorial elections in the country's most populous state after an opposition politician who won the race was blocked from taking office.
Since being elected governor of Zulia two weeks Juan Pablo Guanipa has been unable to take his oath.
His removal is likely to further fuel tensions as President Nicolas Maduro seeks to consolidate his power after allies nearly swept gubernatorial elections that the opposition was predicted to win as the country's economic crisis deepens.
The opposition has accused the government of rigging the vote but apathy among its supporters after months of unrest may have been decisive.
Guanipa is the only one of five winning opposition candidates who boycotted a swearing-in ceremony before the newly-formed assembly that's rewriting Venezuela's constitution.