Hugo Chavez has won the Venezuelan presidential election with 54.42% of the vote against 44.97% for opposition candidate Henrique Capriles Radonski. Chavez has made his victory speech, while Capriles has recognised his defeat.
The “first bulletin” results were announced by the president of the National Electoral Council (CNE), Tibisay Lucena, at around 10pm Venezuelan time, with 90% of the votes totaled, enough to give Chavez an irreversible victory.
The CNE president said, “Once again we’ve had a calm electoral process, without problems, with the joy of this people who decided to vote massively today”.
A spontaneous street party immediately kicked off in the centre of the Andean city of Merida, and a massive crowd of Chavez supporters began celebrating in front of the presidential palace, Miraflores, in Caracas.
“Venezuela will never return to neoliberalism and will continue in the transition to socialism of the 21st century,” Chavez declared to supporters from the “People’s Balcony” of the presidential palace, after his victory was confirmed.
“I want make a recognition to the whole Venezuelan people, the whole Venezuelan nation. Today the country of (Simon) Bolivar was reborn,” added the socialist president, while congratulating the country “for a civic and democratic day”.
The re-elected Venezuelan president also congratulated the Venezuelan opposition for recognising the CNE’s result, saying “they’ve recognised the truth, they’ve recognised the victory of the people”.
Meanwhile, Henrique Capriles, who was the candidate for the opposition Roundtable of Democratic Unity Coalition (MUD), recognised his defeat, stating to supporters “to know how to win, you need to know how to lose!”
He added, “We began the construction of a path and on it there are more than six million people who are looking for a better future…I’m convinced that this country can be better and I’m convinced that Venezuela is going to be better”.
Chavez received a total of 7,444,082 votes to 6,151,154 for his right-wing rival. He will govern for the 2013 – 2019 presidential term, his third constitutional term in office under the 1999 National Constitution.
Turnout was one the highest in Venezuela’s history, with 80.94% of the 19,119,809 registered voters in Venezuela participating in the election.
Venezuelanalysis.com had journalists on the ground for the grassroots celebrations of Chavez’s victory in Merida and Caracas, and will provide more reportage, images and videos on the reactions to tonight’s historic presidential election result soon.