Added by Nigel Shelbourne on October 8, 2012
Venezuela’s President Hugo Chavez won the country’s presidential election with 54.2% votes on Sunday.
Officials said 13.67m voters cast their ballots – representing 80.9% of eligible voters – with just 263,000 invalid votes. Approximately 90% of votes were counted when Venezuela’s electoral office made the announcement of Chavez’ victory.
Chavez’ rival, Henrique Capriles got 44.9% of the vote – approximately 6.1m votes.
This is Hugo Chavez’ third presidential term, on top of the 14 years he has already been in office. Each presidential term is six years long.
The margin of Chavez’ win was much narrower than in past elections – prompting an official of a research institute in Washington to comment, “Chavez is going to have to deal with a very different society than he dealt with in his last term – a society that’s awakened, more organized, and more confident.”
The victory comes after a year of campaigning that saw Chavez insulting Capriles and his followers, often referring to them using his favourite taunt ‘good-for-nothing’.
In a speech Capriles said to his supporters, “You should all feel proud, do not feel defeated.”
A Capriles supporter said, “The opposition has more power..we’re not going to stay with our arms crossed.”
Chavez’ health remains questionable – which could affect his term. Chavez was diagnosed with an undisclosed form of cancer and underwent a number of rounds of treatment during the last 15 months after two operations to remove tumors. He will be in power for a total of 20 years by 2019 if he wins his battle against the disease.
Venezuela’s voting system uses a touch screen voting system that identifies voters using their thumbprint. Some poling stations reverted to using paper ballots due to technical problems, yet polling stations were kept open until everyone in line had a chance to vote.