“Election authorities proclaimed Hugo Chavez’s handpicked successor Venezuela’s president-elect Monday, despite his challenger’s demand for a recount.
“It was a result that was truly fair, constitutional and popular,” Nicolas Maduro said, criticizing his opponent’s refusal to concede.
Maduro secured 50.8% of votes in Sunday’s election, while opposition candidate Henrique Capriles Radonski won 49.0%, Venezuela’s National Electoral Council said Monday.
The South American country’s top election official certified the results at a ceremony in Caracas, saying Venezuela’s voting system had worked perfectly.
Maduro, who billed himself throughout the campaign as Chavez’s political heir, told supporters Monday that the former president’s son-in-law would be executive vice president during his six-year term.
“It hardly seemed like a victory celebration. Nicolás Maduro stepped onto a stage here Sunday night after being declared the winner by a narrow margin in the presidential election to replace his mentor, Hugo Chávez, but his supporters were already streaming away in droves. The long faces told the story.
Mr. Maduro was supposed to ride Mr. Chávez’s immense popularity and the wave of mourning over his death last month to a resounding victory that would ratify the leader’s idiosyncratic revolution.
Instead he squeaked by, with 51 percent of the vote, compared with 49 percent for the opposition leader, Henrique Capriles Radonski, according to an updated vote count released by electoral authorities. They reported that Mr. Maduro had gotten about 262,000 more votes out of more than 14.8 million cast.
The Electoral Council, which has a majority of government loyalists, certified the voting results on Monday even though Mr. Capriles, claiming he is the winner, had asked for a recount. as did the Organization for American States, through its secretary general, José Mighel Insulza.