Sunday, October 7, 2012

Here to stay: Chavez wins Venezuelan presidency

Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez.(Reuters / Edwin Montilva)

Source: Russia Today

Incumbent President, Hugo Chavez, has won Venezuela’s tightly-contested presidential elections, clinching a fourth term with over 54 per cent of the vote, according to the National Electoral Council.

With more than 90 per cent of the ballot counted, election officials claim Chavez has won beyond doubt, with rival Henrique Capriles managing just 44,97 per cent of the vote.

Thank you God! Thank you to everyone,” Chavez said on his Twitter account.

Chavez will take office for a six-year term beginning February 2013.

The election appears to have seen an impressive turnout, with Tibisay Lucena, the National Electoral Council president, stating 81 percent of nearly 19 million registered voters, cast ballots.

Capriles has congratulated Chavez on his victory and told followers not to feel defeated. "We have planted many seeds across Venezuela and I know that these seeds are going to produce many trees,'' he told supporters in a speech late Sunday, AP reports.

Joyful crowds of supporters cheered as the results were announced. Fireworks have been heard around the capital, Caracas. “Absolutely incredible. Everywhere I look fireworks are going off. The city won't sleep tonight,” RT’s Lucy Kafanov tweeted from the Venezuelan capital.

Chavez supporters celebrate the victory /Photo from user @madeleintlSUR

There have been six candidates competing for the presidency in the current election. However since the very beginning, opinion polls suggested the race was between just two potential leaders.Incumbent President Hugo Chavez, representing the United Socialist Party of Venezuela, has proven prominent, but opposition candidate Henrique Capriles, representing the Coalition for Democratic Unity, has been biting at his heels throughout campaigning.Capriles is the first opposition candidate in Chavez’s 13 years in power. The current leader and his young pro-US rival have been neck-and-neck in opinion polls.

Chavez was first elected in 1998 and since then has been waging what he calls a “Bolivarian revolution” towards socialism. He has received a lot of negative coverage from Western media, many regarding him as a reactionary, seeking to cling to power for another presidential term. His controversial foreign policies have provoked the anger of the US on more the one occasion.

He has condemned the support of the opposition in Syria and advocates Iran’s right to enrich uranium. In addition, he has been a key figure in the movement for Latin American integration and the exclusion of the US regarding internal policies.

In contrast, 40-year-old Capriles has resolved to radically change Venezuelan foreign policy upon election, heralding a possible strengthening of ties with the US. Born in 1972, Venezuelan politician and lawyer Capriles was mayor of Baruta Municipality of Caracas. Since November 2008 has been governor of the country’s Miranda state.


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