Audit finds no flaws in Venezuela vote: Official

CARACAS (AFP) - An audit of Venezuela's presidential election results has found no flaws in the snap vote to replace the late Hugo Chavez, the head of the National Electoral Commission said Tuesday.

The opposition leader who lost the election by a tiny margin remained defiant and vowed not to give up, however.

The commission reviewed paper receipts of nearly 4.6 million votes, or 99.98 per cent of those cast, and found "no discrepancy" with the official electronic tallies, said commission president Tibisay Lucena.

Mr Nicolas Maduro was proclaimed the winner of the April 14 vote by a 1.5 per cent margin hours after polls closed, but opposition candidate Henrique Capriles has refused to concede, saying the elections were stolen.

Mr Lucena said the audit showed that "Venezuela has an electoral system that is armored against fraud and error." The commission's findings, however, were unlikely to put the bitter dispute to rest.

Mr Capriles, who had sought a recount, refused to participate in the audit after the commission declined to review voter registration lists and other physical voting records.

He has filed suit with Venezuela's supreme court challenging the results.

On Tuesday, Mr Capriles also slammed the audit itself as a "farse."

"You don't really have to be an IT expert to know that when they compare the vote totals with the electronic tallies, the result is going to be the same," Mr Capriles charged on his Internet channel Capriles.TV.

Mr Lucena further insisted that Mr Capriles could not back up his allegation that some people who were deceased had cast ballots.

But he remained unbowed.

"We have the right to take this case to international bodies" now, Mr Capriles stressed.

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