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Venezuela Under Pressure for Election Recount

  • VOA News

Supporters of opposition leader Henrique Capriles face off against riot police as they demonstrated for a recount of the votes in Sunday's election, in Caracas, Apr. 15, 2013.

Supporters of opposition leader Henrique Capriles face off against riot police as they demonstrated for a recount of the votes in Sunday's election, in Caracas, Apr. 15, 2013.

Angry supporters of Venezuelan opposition leader Henrique Capriles are planning a second day of demonstrations Tuesday to protest his narrow defeat in this week's presidential election.

Capriles' supporters banged pots and pans and burned trash bags as they marched through the streets of Caracas Monday, demanding a recount. They were confronted by police, who fired tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse the crowd. Opposition protests were also reported in several provincial cities.

Protests broke out after Venezuela's election commission declared acting President Nicolas Maduro the winner of Sunday's vote. Maduro - the late President Hugo Chavez's handpicked successor - was elected by a razor-thin margin of 50.7 percent to 49.1 percent over Capriles.

Shortly after the results were certified, Capriles, the governor of Miranda state, urged his supporters to protest outside the election commission's offices Tuesday.

Capriles claims his campaign has received more than 3,200 complaints of irregularities in Sunday's election.

His demand for a recount was echoed by the United States and the Organization of American States. White House spokesman Jay Carney says a recount is necessary and prudent to ensure Venezuelans have confidence in the results.

Maduro began the campaign with a double-digit lead in the polls over Capriles, who lost decisively to Chavez in last year's presidential election.

But Maduro's lead shrank considerably during the campaign, as Capriles accused the Chavez and Maduro governments of doing little to solve Venezuela's economic problems, food shortages and soaring crime rate.

​Maduro has pledged to continue what he calls the Chavez revolution, which supporters say used oil wealth to lift millions out of poverty.

Chavez died last month after a two-year battle with cancer.
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