Venezuela’s incumbent President Hugo Chavez has claimed victory in the country’s election, hailing the poll as a triumph for his socialist revolution. Earlier, election officials announced he had taken 61 percent of the vote, ahead of rival, Manuel Rosales, who took 38 percent, with more than three-quarters of votes counted.
Thousands of supporters of Chavez took to the streets to celebrate-chanting, dancing and sounding car horns. Chavez secured support from the poor, using the country’s oil revenues to fund social programmes. The 52-year-old former Lieutenant-Colonel aims to take further state control of the country’s oil industry. And he’s vowed to scrap presidential term limits and create a single party.
His rival, Manuel Rosales, who campaigned on free-market policies and the virtues of attracting foreign investment, has conceded victory. Chavez has said Rosales would cry fraud if he lost, but the poll was monitored by hundreds of international observers.