Hugo Chavez’s hand-picked successor, Nicolas Maduro, won a razor-thin victory in Sunday’s special presidential election, edging the opposition’s leader by only about 300,000 votes, electoral officials announced.
Maduro’s stunningly close victory over Henrique Capriles came after a campaign in which the winner promised to carry on Chavez’s self-proclaimed socialist revolution while the challenger’s main message was that Chavez’s regime put Venezuela on the road to ruin.
Maduro, acting president since Chavez’s death, held a double-digit advantage just two weeks ago, but electoral officials said he got just 50.7 percent of the votes to 49.1 percent for Capriles.
Chavistas set off fireworks and blasted car horns as they cruised downtown Caracas in jubilation.
There was no immediate word from the Capriles camp but Maduro addressed a crowd from the presidential palace. He called his victory further proof that Chavez “continues to be invincible, that he continues to win battles.”
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