Hugo Chavez maintains his ruling party is the only winner in Venezuela’s parliamentary elections, despite inroads made by his rivals.
The opposition is celebrating after its candidates won a third of seats, meaning their support is now needed for major law changes.
Chavez said: “It’s clear to all: a decisive victory of the Bolivarian revolution. But some say, no, they won. Well that suits me if they continue to win like that.”
Electoral officials are yet to announce the final results, but Chavez says his party won 98 of the 165 seats in the National Assembly.
The Democratic Unity umbrella group reportedly took 65 seats and about half of the popular vote.
Observers say that is a blow to Chavez, who is used to big popular support.