Chavez Wins Referendum
16 Aug 2004 13:58 GMT
Opposition Has Not Yet Conceded Defeat
Controversial left-wing president Hugo Chavez has defeated his opponents electorally in a referendum called to remove him from power. The Venezuelan National Electoral Commission (CNE) announced the preliminary result at 4:03AM in Caracas: Chavez gained 58% of votes cast. This total is expected to rise by a few percentage points as votes come in from poorer rural areas.
Although there has been no negative comment about the conduct of the election from either the US-based Carter Centre or Organization of American States election monitors, the country's elites "categorically reject the results." Hundreds of thousands of people are partying in the streets while waiting to see what the anti-popular forces will do next.
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