The Venezuelan electorate has chosen to give President Hugo Chávez another six-year mandate. Last night, the Consejo Nacional Electoral (National Electoral Council—CNE) announced that with 90 percent of ballots counted, Chávez earned 54 percent of votes while challenger Henrique Capriles Radonski took in about 45 percent.
The CNE also announced that the participation rate of eligible voters was nearly 81 percent, one of the highest in recent history. However, not all votes were factored into the quick count. As AQ guest blogger Mariana Marval reported from London, “[CNE] changed the rules so that the votes from abroad will now not be counted at the same time as the votes in Venezuela.”
The uncounted votes nevertheless will not surpass Chávez’ large margin of victory. At a closing campaign rally in Caracas last week, Chávez vowed to redouble his socialist policies, stating, “We’ve laid the foundations of 21st-Century Socialism and […] we’ll launch the second socialist cycle, from 2013 to 2019, with much more strength.”