CARACAS, (Xinhua): Venezuelan Acting President Nicolas Maduro narrowly won Sunday’s presidential elections carrying 50.66 percent of the votes according to official tally, which was rejected by opposition challenger Henrique Capriles.
With 99.2 percent of the ballots counted, Maduro beat Capriles by a margin of less than 2 percentage points, who gained 49.07 percent of the votes, said National Electoral Council’s (CNE) President Tibisay Lucena.
Other candidates got 0.26 percent of the votes and the turnout of Sunday’s vote was 78.71 percent, according to Lucena.
“In view of the tightly-raced elections, we have talked with the candidates,” she said, adding that the results were “irreversible.”
Given the narrow gap between the top two candidates, the CNE’s opposition rector Vicente Diaz appealed for an audit of the vote counting.
In a victory speech to the nation, Maduro said he is open to the audit, and called for peace.
“We don’t want violence, we want peace. They (the opposition) want an audit, we welcome the audit … I formally request the National Electoral Commission to carry out an audit.”
Maduro, the candidate from the ruling United Socialist Party, will complete the remaining of the six-year term left by late President Hugo Chavez starting from January.
Maduro’s supporters fired massive fireworks in Caracas in celebration of his victory.
The results surprised many as pre-election polls gave Maduro a nearly 10-point lead over Capriles, who represents the opposition Democratic Unity Roundtable coalition.
Capriles said he rejected the election results and demanded recount of all votes.
“We have different results…Mr Maduro, if you were illegitimate before, now you are more so,” he told a press conference.
More than 18.9 million Venezuelan voters went to the polls on Sunday to choose a successor to Chavez who died of cancer in March.
Syria: Fresh mortar attack kills 4 in Damascus’s countryside
DAMASCUS, (Xinhua): At least four people were killed and 20 others wounded on Sunday when mortar shells fired by rebels slammed a pro-government suburb of the capital Damascus, the state media and activists said.
Three mortars landed at a station of Pullman buses in Jaramana suburb, some 10 km southeast of Damascus, official SANA news agency said.
The first mortar struck inside the station, while two others hammered a bus outside, SANA said, adding that the attack left immense material damage to parked cars and buses.
Meanwhile, the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said Syrian warplanes bombarded the suburb of Subaineh in eastern Damascus, injuring many people and damaging houses.
The area, about 10 km east of Damascus and home to about 300, 000 people, has recently emerged as a battlefield of the rebels and government troops.