Venezuelans vote for Congress with Socialist Party majority at risk

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By Brian Ellsworth CARACAS (Reuters) - Venezuelans elect a new legislature on Sunday in a vote that may punish the ruling Socialist Party for a prolonged economic crisis and could strengthen the opposition's efforts to challenge the broadly unpopular President Nicolas Maduro. Polls show frustration over chronic product shortages and runaway inflation, signaling that voters could hand Venezuela's socialists their first loss in parliament since their movement's founder, late president Hugo Chavez, took office in 1999. A nationwide survey in November by respected pollster Datanalisis estimates 55.6 percent of voters would back opposition candidates and only 36.8 percent the government.