Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro casts his vote during the election for the National Constituent Assembly (ANC), in Caracas, Venezuela, on July 30, 2017. All the polling stations for electing members to the National Constituent Assembly in Venezuela opened at 6:00 a.m. local time (1030 GMT) on Sunday, despite opposition-led protests against the move. (Xinhua/Presidency of Venezuela)
CARACAS, July 30 (Xinhua) -- All the polling stations for electing members to the National Constituent Assembly (ANC) in Venezuela opened at 6:00 a.m. local time (1030 GMT) on Sunday, despite opposition-led protests against the move.
Venezuelans began to vote at their local polling stations to elect 537 of the total 545 members of the ANC with the remaining eight seats belonging to the indigenous people, according to the National Electoral Council (CNE).
President Nicolas Maduro is among one of the first figures who casted his vote at a polling station in the west of the capital city of Caracas.
The ANC was proposed by Maduro on May 1, with a view to reviewing and rewriting the 1999 Constitution to break the current political gridlock that has paralyzed the country. A popular referendum will be held on the new constitution after it is drafted.
According to the constitution, the ANC will act as the supreme organ of power before the new constitution is approved.
The government said that the new constitution would "guarantee peace and coexistence among all Venezuelans," but the leading opposition coalition, known by its Spanish acronym MUD, has refused to take part in the process.
Among the 545 seats of the assembly, 364 will represent regions while 181 represent different civil society groups. About 6,120 candidates are competing for the seats, according to the CNE.