Listen to the opposition, White House tells Chavez
WASHINGTON, USA (AFP) — The United States yesterday voiced hope that the Venezuelan opposition's views would not be ignored, after leftist President Hugo Chavez, in power for 14 years, won re-election again.
"We believe that the views of the more than six million people who voted for the opposition should be taken into account going forward," said William Ostick, the State Department's spokesman for the Western Hemisphere.
"We congratulate the Venezuelan people for the high turnout and generally peaceful manner in which this election was carried out," he added in an e-mail.
Chavez, a staunchly anti-American leftist, emerged victorious again despite health scares, growing discontent and a strong opposition challenge.
After a massive 81 per cent turnout, Chavez won 55 per cent, or nearly eight million votes, while centre-left former Miranda state governor Henrique Capriles gave the opposition its best score against the president, 44.39 per cent, or 6.4 million ballots.
The White House congratulated the Venezuelan people on a peaceful election, while noting that the US has its "differences" with Chavez.
"We have our differences with President Chavez," White House spokesman Jay Carney told journalists in Washington. "But we congratulate the Venezuelan people," he added, on an election process that was "peaceful".