Ariana Cubillos
Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro speaks during a press conference at the Miraflores presidential palace, in Caracas, Venezuela, Tuesday, Oct. 17, 2017. Maduro defended the results of Sunday's gubernatorial elections and said that those who report fraud are lying. (AP Photo/Ariana Cubillos)

CARACAS, Venezuela — Venezuela's National Electoral Council has added to the victory total for the ruling socialists in a round of gubernatorial elections.

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Election officials have proclaimed Justo Noguera winner of the election for governor of Bolivar state in eastern Venezuela. Opposition candidate Andres Velasquez is rejecting the result and urging supporters to protest.

The council says socialist contenders swept 18 of the 23 governor offices at stake Sunday. The opposition had been widely expected to win a majority of the races and is contesting the results.

Opposition leaders claim the government-stacked electoral council committed a wide range of fraudulent tactics including relocating more than 200 voting sites that influenced the vote.

The race in Bolivar was particularly close: Less than 1 percentage point differentiates the two contenders.