Chavez wins with over 60%

December 3 — Wild celebrations have broken out here as the National Electoral Council (CNE) has announced that left-wing incumbent Hugo Chavez has won the Venezuelan presidential elections with a vote of over 60%. In pouring rain, thousands of cheering supporters have flocked to the Miraflores presidential palace to applaud the president, who has spoken to the people from the balcony of the palace.

CNE president Lucena Tibisay announced at 10pm that, with around 78% of the vote counted, Chavez had received 5,936,000 votes (61.4%), to right-wing opposition candidate Manuel Rosales's 3,715,000 (38%). The total registered electorate in Venezuela is around 16 million.

The crowds around Miraflores, dressed in their red T-shirts and caps, waved Venezuelan flags and cheered loudly as the president spoke of a great victory for the Venezuelan people and for socialism of the 21st century. The president himself sounded hoarse at the end of a long and exhausting campaign, which has taken him and his "Red Hurricane" across the length and breadth of the country, visiting every regional city several times at least.

Chants of "Uh, ah, Chavez no se va!" ("Uh, ah, Chavez will not go!") rang out through the night. Chavez repeated, "Libertad, libertad, libertad!" ("Liberty, Liberty, Liberty!"), and stressed that the result was a victory for socialism, for the Bolivarian revolution, and for love of the people.