Zuma congratulates new Venezuela leader

2013-04-16 11:45
Jacob Zuma (Picture: AFP)

Jacob Zuma (Picture: AFP)

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Johannesburg - President Jacob Zuma on Monday congratulated the new president of Venezuela and said South Africa looked forward to strengthening relations between the two countries.

"South Africa congratulates Mr Nicolas Maduro and the people of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela on the successful elections," Zuma said in a statement.

"The government of South Africa looks forward to consolidating its relations with Venezuela under the leadership of President-elect Maduro."

Associated Press reported that Maduro, Chavez's hand-picked successor, won a razor-thin victory in Sunday's special presidential election. The opposition candidate refused to accept the result and demanded a full recount.

Maduro's close victory followed a campaign in which he promised to carry on Chavez's self-styled socialist revolution.

Capriles's main message was that Chavez put the country with the world's largest oil reserves on the road to ruin.

Maduro, acting president since Chavez's 5 March death, held a double-digit advantage in opinion polls just two weeks ago.

Electoral officials however said he got just 50.7% of the votes to 49.1% for Capriles, with nearly all ballots counted.

The margin was about 234 935 votes. Turnout was 78%, down from just over 80% in the October election that Chavez won by a nearly 11-point margin, AP reported.

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Read more on:    henrique capriles  |  jacob zuma  |  nicolas maduro  |  johannesburg  |  venezuela  |  politics

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