Nicolas Maduro, the former bus driver Hugo Chavez chose as his political heir, has triumphed in Venezuela's presidential election by a margin much narrower than expected. Electoral official say Maduro took 50.7% of the votes to 49.1% for opposition challenger Henrique Capriles, the AP reports. Maduro, who had been serving as acting president since Chavez died of cancer last month, told a crowd of supporters that Chavez "continues to be invincible, that he continues to win battles."
Maduro had a double-digit lead two weeks ago, but the final margin of victory was fewer than 250,000 votes. Electoral officials say the result is "irreversible," but Capriles says he will not accept the result without a recount, the BBC reports. "This result does not reflect the reality of the country. We will do everything so that the truth is known," he said, claiming there were more than 300,000 incidents during yesterday's vote that need to be examined. Maduro, who urged Venezuelans to remain peaceful, said he would be open to an audit of voting figures, reports Reuters.