Nicolas Maduro Wins Venezuela Presidency

Socialist candidate Nicolas Maduro has won a narrow victory in Venezuela’s presidential poll.

Fallen Venezuela President Hugo Chavez (L) and his preferred successor Nicholas Maduro who has been declared winner of the presidential poll
Fallen Venezuela President Hugo Chavez (L) and his preferred successor Nicholas Maduro who has been declared winner of the presidential poll

Mr Maduro, who was chosen by the late Hugo Chavez as his successor, won 50.7% of the vote against 49.1% for opposition candidate Henrique Capriles.

The electoral commission said the results were “irreversible”.

There has been no public comment from Mr Capriles, who earlier on Sunday has suggested there was an attempt to doctor the result.

Mr Maduro’s supporters launched fireworks in the capital, Caracas, after the result was announced, while opposition voters banged pots and pans, the Reuters news agency reports.

Mr Maduro, wearing the colours of the Venezuelan flag, told a rally of supporters in front of the presidential palace that he had won a “just, legal and constitutional” victory.

However, the margin of victory was far smaller than that gained by the late President Chavez over Mr Capriles at elections last October.

Almost 80% of eligible voters took part in the poll.

Mr Maduro said he had spoken to Mr Capriles on the phone. Mr Maduro said the opposition had asked for an audit of the election result, which he said he would allow.

Mr Maduro called for those who had not voted for him to “work together” for the country.

Divisive legacy

Mr Maduro had been serving as acting president since Mr Chavez died of cancer on 5 March.

He is due to be sworn in on 19 April and serve until January 2019 to complete the six-year term that Mr Chavez would have begun in January.

Mr Chavez was a divisive leader. To his supporters he was the reforming president whose idiosyncratic brand of socialism defeated the political elite and gave hope to the poorest Venezuelans.

He effectively used his country’s vast oil reserves to boost Venezuela’s international clout, and his strident criticism of the US won him many political allies in Latin America.

However, his political opponents accused him of being an autocrat, intent on building a one-party state.

Mr Chavez bequeaths a nation beset by crumbling infrastructure, unsustainable public spending and under-performing industry.

Agencies

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