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Venezuelan protests ramped up as they hit the 50-day mark

Venezuela's attorney general launched an investigation into Sunday's controversial vote


Venezuela's Attorney General announced that an investigation has been launched into potential voter fraud in Sunday's controversial election following reports that President Nicolas Maduro's government may have inflated voter numbers.

Luisa Ortega Diaz told CNN Español on Wednesday that she has appointed two prosecutors to investigate the directors of the National Electoral Council.

Last Sunday, Venezuelans casted their ballots in favor of Maduro's new legislative body, the National Constituent Assembly. The assembly will have the authority to rewrite Venezuela's constitution.

Maduro claimed that more than 10 million people turned out to vote. However, Antonio Mugica, chief executive of London-based Smartmatic, claimed that only 7.5 million people voted.

Mugica said at a press conference Wednesday that Venezuela's government "tampered with" the voting figures.

"Based on the robustness of our system, we know, without any doubt, that the turnout of the recent election for a National Constituent Assembly was manipulated," he said.

Opposition groups boycotted Sunday's election and took to the streets to protest.

"They can do all they want. We are going to have a legislative body with super powers," Ortega, a vocal critic of Maduro's government, told CNN. "It's important for the country to know the reach of this fraud and if it constitutes a crime."

The U.S. imposed new economic sanctions on President Maduro on Monday and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin denounced the elections.

"Yesterday's illegitimate elections confirm that Maduro is a dictator who disregards the will of the people," Mnuchin said at a White House press briefing. "By sanctioning Maduro, the United States makes clear our opposition to his regime and our support for the people of Venezuela."

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