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Chavez's Heir To Take Over Divided Venezuela06:22
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Venezuela's opposition presidential candidate Henrique Capriles, left, is demanding a recount after Sunday's election. At right, Venezuela's newly elected President Nicolas Maduro celebrates his victory. (AP)
Venezuela's opposition presidential candidate Henrique Capriles, left, is demanding a recount after Sunday's election. At right, Venezuela's newly elected President Nicolas Maduro celebrates his victory. (AP)

Hugo Chavez's hand-picked successor, Nicolas Maduro, has officially won Venezuela's presidential election by a stunningly narrow margin that highlights rising discontent over problems ranging from crime to power blackouts. His rival on Monday demanded a recount, portending more uncertainty for a country shaken by the death of its dominating leader.

One key Chavista leader expressed dismay over the outcome of Sunday's election, which was supposed to cement the self-styled "Bolivarian Revolution" of their beloved president as Venezuela's destiny. National Assembly President Diosdado Cabello, who many consider Maduro's main rival within their movement, tweeted: "The results oblige us to make a profound self-criticism."

Maduro, who won a six-year term, told a crowd outside the presidential palace that his victory was further proof that Chavez "continues to be invincible."

But analysts called the unexpectedly slim margin a disaster for Maduro, a former union leader and bus driver who is believed to have close ties to Cuba. He faces enormous economic challenges, as well as the task of holding together a movement built around the magnetism of the now-departed Chavez.

The nation appeared largely calm on Monday despite the tight, contested end to an often ugly, mudslinging campaign.

Challenger Henrique Capriles and Maduro both sent their supporters home and urged them to refrain from violence.

Guest:

  • Will Grant, BBC reporter in Caracas. He tweets @will__grant.

This segment aired on April 15, 2013.

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