Venezuela's election authority has formally named Hugo Chavez successor Nicolas Maduro as winner of Sunday's presidential vote. Supporters of opposition leader Henrique Capriles have hit the streets to demand a recount.
Venezuela's National Electoral Council confirmed the results of the weekend's vote on Monday, naming Maduro "president-elect of Venezuela."
The announcement was met with protests in Venezuela's capital Caracas, with police firing tear gas at thousands of demonstrators demanding a recount in favor of opposition candidate, Henrique Capriles. No injuries were reported.
The opposition leader has refused to accept Sunday's narrow defeat, citing what he has described as thousands of irregularities. Earlier on Monday he called on protesters to take to the streets banging pots and pans should election authorities uphold the result.
Capriles has said that the opposition's own count revealed he had won the vote.
"We think we won the election. The other side thinks they won and we're both within our rights," Capriles, a 40-year-old state governor, said in a televised news conference. "All we're asking is that our rights be respected, that the will of the people be respected, and that every single vote be counted, every little piece of paper, that paper isn't for recycling, it's proof."
Speaking after the result on Sunday, Maduro told cheering supporters in Caracas that "this victory is another tribute to our commandante Hugo Chavez."
The 50-year-old former bus driver and trade union leader was handpicked by Chavez before the former president died from cancer last month. He had served as foreign minister and vice president under Chavez who ruled Venezuela for 14 years with an oil revenue-based socialist revolution.
ccp/msh (AFP, Reuters)