Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez has defeated the opposition to claim another six years as the countries socialist leader. Chavez faced off against 40-year-old challenger Henrique Capriles. The oppositions “best chance” at defeating Chavez after fourteen years of attempts was defeated 54 percent to 45 percent.
Chavez won the election just one month after he exited the public eye to deal with cancer treatments, a move that led to rumors he was dying.
Addressing a shouting crowd, Hugo Chavez proclaimed:
“Today we’ve shown that Venezuela’s democracy is one of the best democracies in the world, and we will continue to show it.”
His victory speech was met with fireworks as 90 percent of the countries ballots were counted and Chavez led with a 54.42 percent vote count.
Chavez now faces a tough road ahead; South America’s biggest oil exporter is facing pressure to devalue its currency in 2013, a move that will probably cause inflation. Chavez sympathizers have constantly complained about the threat of inflationary moves.
While Chavez was declared today’s winner, the country’s constitution specifically says if an incumbent steps down in the first four years of a six-year term, a new vote must be called for. If Chavez continues to fight cancer, Capriles could find himself in favor with more voters who are not simply voting for the face they know.
While Chavez has declared himself cured of cancer on two separate occasions, doctors note that it typically takes two years to make that final judgement. Critics note that Chavez has looked bloated and tired in recent months, a possible sign that he is still undergoing cancer treatments.