President Nicolas Maduro won the Venezuelan presidential elections Sunday, gaining a second presidential term for six years with more than 5.8 million votes, the National Electoral Council (CNE) announced Sunday night.
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With 92.6 percent of the votes counted, Maduro had 5.8 million votes, while his closest rival, former governor Henri Falcón getting 1.8 million votes, said CNE President Tibisay Lucena who added that in total, 8.6 million Venezuelans voted, out of an electoral registry of 20.5 million people.
"We are the force of history turned into popular victory," Maduro told his supporters after the CNE announcement. "Thank you to facing so many aggressions and lies, thank you for overcoming it, and for making me president of Venezuela for the next term."
#VenezuelaDecides | @NicolasMaduro won the Venezuelan presidential elections Sunday, gaining a second presidential term for six years with more than 5.8 million votes, the National Electoral Council (CNE) announced Sunday night.#VenezuelaVota pic.twitter.com/ZHjWdtEl1O— teleSUR English (@telesurenglish) May 21, 2018
The president further thanked the Venezuelan people for their support and voting him into a second term with 68 percent of the vote. "The people in Venezuela have to be respected."
"I demand the respect for all of the Venezuelan People. I'm the president of all of the Venezuelans. I call for a dialogue process. Permanent dialogue is what Venezuela needs."
As results came out, Maduro supporters let off fireworks in poor Caracas neighborhoods and danced to Latin pop around the downtown Miraflores presidential palace. He took 5.8 million votes, versus 1.8 for his nearest rival Henri Falcon, the board said.
"I want to congratulate the revolutionary youth in Venezuela and all social movements in Venezuela for this victory," Maduro said. "I look to the future, and I propose to all the leaders of the opposition to meet and talk about Venezuela. Democratically, let's resolve Venezuela's problems."
Maduro’s main electoral opposition was Henri Falcon, who had promised to convert Venezuela’s currency to the U.S.-dollar.
In the hour before the results were announced, Falcon said that he wasn't going to recognize the results, that they were "illegitimate." He blamed abstentionist sectors of the opposition for his loss, and called for new elections to be called for October.