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Venezuela votes for its next president

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Venezuela votes for its next president

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Helping to secure his own future, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro has cast his vote in an election his critics have called the "coronation" of a dictator.

The 55-year-old former bus driver is favourite to win a six-year term following Sunday's poll; not least because the opposition are boycotting it and two of his most popular rivals have been barred from standing.

But his victory could trigger further international disapproval and even sanctions from the US.

More than 20 million Venezuelans are expected to elect their president from three candidates.

But the victor will have to manage a country in a state of economic free fall. So far, 1.7 million people have fled the country over the past two years due to a collapse in the price of crude oil, shortages of basic goods and an inflation rate of almost 14,000%.