After calling his opponent Henrique Capriles “gay and Jewish,” Venezuela President Hugo Chávez is a happy man right now as he’s been reelected once again.
Via ABC News:
President Hugo Chávez has retained power in Venezuela, after defeating opponent Henrique Capriles, by a comfortable victory of 900,000 votes. Chávez, the longest serving president in Latin America, has been re-elected for the third time. His new term will be from 2013 to 2019. He was first elected to power in 1998.
Shortly after his victory was announced by Venezuela’s National Electoral Council at 10:15pm local time, fireworks went off in several Caracas neighborhoods. Thousands of Chávez supporters in red shirts headed towards the Presidential Palace in Caracas to watch the socialist leader speak. “The candidate of the right and his campaign team have just announced that they have recognized our victory,” Chávez told an ecstatic crowd. “And that is a very important step towards the construction of peace and coexistence in Venezuela,” added the president, whose politics have deeply polarized Venezuelan society.
In Sunday’s election however, Chávez got 54 percent of the vote, while Capriles secured 45 percent. The victory margin for Chávez, was smaller than what he had attained in previous elections, in which he had defeated his opponents by 15 points or more. But it was still a significant difference over Capriles, a social democrat who had promised to run Venezuela as a market economy with strong social programs, in the mold of Brazil.
Chávez has been elected for a six year term that ends in 2019. But doubts about his health, and on his ability to serve out this six-year term remain. Chávez was operated for an unspecified form of cancer in July of 2011, and for another tumor in his pelvic area earlier this year.
If Chávez were to die in office during the first four years of his term, new elections would have to be held within 30 days. At this moment there is no clear successor to the Venezuela president within Chávez’s United Sociality Party of Venezuela.