VENEZUELA: Hand-Picked Successor To Hugo Chavez Wins Presidency In Squeaker

The gay-baiting hand-picked successor to Hugo Chavez has won the Venezuelan presidency by the narrowest of margins.

Winner Nicolas Maduro campaigned on a promise to carry on Mr Chavez’s self-styled socialist revolution, and defeated a two-time challenger who claimed the late president’s regime has put Venezuela on the road to ruin. Officials say Mr Maduro defeated Henrique Capriles by just 300,000 votes. The margin was 50.8% to 49.1%. “These are the irreversible results that the people have decided,” National Electoral Council president Tibisay Lucena told a news conference.

During the campaign Maduro repeatedly implied that Capriles is gay, and charges of homophobia were exchanged by both sides.

RELATED: Anti-Chavez US-based wingnut sites are already claiming that Maduro stole the election. Foreign observers from the Center for Economic and Policy Research say they witnessed no improprieties.

What we saw when we were invited in was a model of transparency, with many checks and balances to assure integrity. People must show identification, their serial number is then entered into a digitial device and their photo comes up, then they give a thumb print to verify their identity again. They then proceed to vote electronically, receiving a paper receipt which they check and deposit in a box for later auditing. They then sign out, give a thumb print next to their signature, and dip their pinky finger in a vial of indelible ink to assure that they can’t vote again. All of this is facilitated by randomly chosen registered voters and witnessed by representatives of the political parties. There is an audit of 55% of the voting tables to check the paper receipts against the electronic returns. Jimmy Carter called it the best voting system in the world and we could see why.

UPDATE: Capriles is demanding a recount.