Maduro (left), Capriles

Maduro (left), Capriles

Venezuelan officials have announced that Nicholas Maduro of the United Socialist Party, has won a narrow victory at the country’s presidential election, but his rival Henrique Capriles is demanding a recount.

“Today’s loser is you,” Capriles told a news conference on Monday, referring to Maduro. “We won’t recognise a result until every vote has been counted”.

The Election Board announced late Sunday evening that Maduro received 50.76 percent of votes while Capriles got 49.07 percent.

Maduro is the late Hugo Chavez’s hand picked successor. It is a much slimmer margin than predicted.

Maduro said the result of the election is beyond doubt. “There should be no doubts about the election results. The institutions are functioning. If 7,500,000 Venezuelans said that Nicolas Maduro should be the president of the republic until 2019, this must be respected; the democracy and the power of the majority,” Maduro said, addressing a crowd from the Miraflores presidential palace.

But, he said he would welcome an audit.

“We are calling for respect of the results. If they want do an audit, they are welcome to do it. They can do whatever audit they want to do. We trust in the Venezuelan electoral system. We welcome an audit,” said Maduro.

Capriles said the result is not a reflection of the reality in Venezuela and pointed out that the ‘struggle’ will continue. “This result does not reflect the reality of what Venezuelans want and aspire to,” he said. “Mr Maduro, if you were illegitimate before, now you are more so. “I tell you firmly, this struggle is not over. It will end when Venezuela is a prosperous country when people can live better.

Nearly 19 million people were eligible to vote.

Casting votes at the Venezuelan embassy in Dominica. Photo by Zaimis Olmos

Venezuelans in Dominica cast votes at the Venezuelan embassy. Photo by Zaimis Olmos