Supporters of Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez in Caracas, Venezuela.
Supporters of Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez in Caracas, Venezuela. Photo by AP
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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.

Venezuelan opposition leader Henrique Capriles accepted defeat and congratulated President Hugo Chavez on Sunday for his re-election victory.

"I send him my congratulations," Capriles told supporters at his campaign headquarters, looking downcast but saying he was proud of the large number of voters who turned out to cast their ballots for him.

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.