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Associated Press
Accompanied by his daughter Rosa Virginia, left, Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez gestures to supporter

Chavez wins re-election, electoral council says

CARACAS, Venezuela — President Hugo Chavez won re-election on Sunday, defeating challenger Henrique Capriles, Venezuela's electoral council said.

With most votes counted, Chavez had more than 54 percent of the vote, and Capriles had 45 percent, National Electoral Council president Tibisay Lucena said. She said 81 percent of the nearly 19 million registered voters cast ballots.

It was Chavez's third re-election victory in nearly 14 years in office. The victory gives Chavez another six-year term to cement his legacy and press more forcefully for a transition to socialism in the country with the world's largest proven oil reserves.

Fireworks exploded in downtown Caracas, and Chavez's supporters celebrated waving flags and jumping for joy outside the presidential palace.

Chavez won more than 7.4 million votes, beating Capriles by more than 1.2 million votes, Lucena said.

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