Monday October 8, 2012
Chavez, Capriles plead for calm as voting goes on late (Updated)
CARACAS: Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez and his rival Henrique Capriles appealed for calm Sunday as voting continued after official closing hours in the leftist leader's toughest election.
"Let's wait for the results with patience, calm and prepare to recognize the results, whatever they may be," Chavez, 58, said in a phone call broadcast during a press conference held by his campaign team.
"I ask the nation to stay calm, be patient and that nobody despair, that nobody fall into provocations, no violence, and we wait for the results," Chavez said.
"Let's prepare for this with maturity, with good faith and the willingness to continue the march of the Bolivarian fatherland," Chavez said, referring to Venezuela's independence hero Simon Bolivar.
Opposition candidate Henrique Capriles, 40, has mounted the strongest electoral challenge in the leftist leader's almost 14 years in power.
"Calm, act sensibly, patience! Today was a historic, magnificent day, the people spoke!" Capriles wrote on Twitter. "We know what happened and we must wait! Viva Venezuela!"
Venezuelans voted in droves in the election, standing in huge lines even before polling stations opened.
Some voting centers remained open more than two hours after the official closing time, 6:00 pm (2230 GMT), due to the lines, election authorities said.
Chavez, who won 62 percent of the vote in the 2006 election, held a 10-point lead in the latest opinion poll, but other surveys have put the rivals in a statistical dead heat.
Key Communist ally Cuba and other Latin American partners are watching closely to see if Capriles, at the head of a united opposition, can pull off a stunning upset and defeat the anti-American firebrand. - AFP
Venezuelan voting goes into overtime due to lines
CARACAS: Venezuelan polling stations began to close Sunday but some remained opened late as lines of voters were still waiting to cast ballots in the presidential election, the electoral council said.
"We must recall at the end of this election day that voters are still voting," said National Electoral Council president Tibisay Lucena. "Voting stations will stay open as long as voters are in line."
"Those that have closed must not forget to do their closing counts," she said at a brief news conference more than one hour after the official closing hour of 6:00 pm (2230 GMT).
She did not say how many stations were closed or open but public television images showed long lines of voters in various places.
The election pits President Hugo Chavez, 58, against his toughest challenger in almost 14 years, 40-year-old opposition candidate Henrique Capriles.
The electoral council has said that it would publish results once the trend is "irreversible." - AFP