CARACAS, Venezuela - President Hugo Chavez won re-election by a wide margin
on Sunday, giving the firebrand leftist six more years to redistribute
Venezuela's vast oil wealth to the poor and press his campaign to counter US
influence in Latin America and beyond.
With 78 percent of voting
stations reporting, Chavez had 61 percent to 38 percent for challenger Manuel
Rosales, said Tibisay Lucena, head of the country's elections council. Chavez
had nearly 6 million votes versus 3.7 million for Rosales, according to the
Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez
greets hundreds of supporters from the balcony of the Miraflores Palace in
Caracas December 3, 2006 after official election results gave him a
victory by a wide margin. The anti-US Venezuelan president claimed victory
with a cry of 'long live the revolution' as official results showed him
heading for a landslide re-election win on Sunday. [Reuters]
Turnout was 62 percent, according to an official bulletin of results, making
Chavez's lead insurmountable.
Minutes after the results were announced, Chavez appeared on the balcony of
the presidential palace singing the national anthem.
"Long live the socialist revolution! Destiny has been written," Chavez
shouted to thousands of flag-waving supporters in a pouring rain.
Chavez said he would now try to deepen his social reforms to spread his
country's vast oil profits among the poor.
"No one should fear socialism," he proclaimed. "Socialism is human. Socialism
Even before polls closed, Chavez supporters celebrated in the streets,
setting off fireworks and cruising Caracas honking horns and shouting "Chavez
isn't going anywhere!"
A top Rosales adviser, Teodoro Petkoff, said the voting was carried out in a
"satisfactory manner." He said some irregularities had occurred but most were
resolved. Another member of the Rosales camp had accused pro-Chavez soldiers of
reopening closed polling stations and busing voters to them.