Hugo Chavez re-elected to extend socialist rule
CARACAS (REUTERS) - Venezuela's socialist President Hugo Chavez won re-election in on Sunday, quashing the opposition's best bet at unseating him in 14 years and cementing himself as a dominant figure in modern Latin American history.
The 58-year-old Chavez took 54.42 per cent of the vote, with 90 percent of the ballots counted, to 44.97 per cent for young opposition candidate Henrique Capriles, official results showed.
Mr Chavez's victory would extend his rule of the OPEC member state to two decades, though he is recovering from cancer and the possibility of a recurrence hangs over his political future.
Jubilant supporters poured onto the streets of Caracas to celebrate the victory of a man who has near-Messianic status among Venezuela's poor, and there was relief too among leftist allies around the region - from Cuba to Bolivia - who rely on his oil-financed generosity.