Venezuela’s President Hugo Chavez has been celebrating his re-election.
The founder of self styled Bolivarian socialism, addressed his supporters from the balcony of the presidential palace where he congratulated the opposition for putting up a good fight.
“I send my words of recognition to all of those who voted against us. I send out a special recognition for your democratic talent, for your participation, for the civic demonstration that you have given today despite not agreeing with the Bolivarian proposition,” he said.
Opposition candidate Henrique Capriles came the closest in over a decade to beating Chavez at the polling stations. With 90 percent of the ballots counted, official results showed Capriles with 44.97 percent of the vote and Chavez with 54.42 percent.
“I hope a political movement that has been in power for 14 years understands that almost half the country does not agree with it. I ask those who remain in power for respect, consideration and recognition of almost half of the country,” he said.
While Chavez’s victory was in the end comfortable, it was a lot slimmer than at the 2006 election at which he won with 63 percent.
The opposition claims this shows the start of a long road to changing the direction of the country.