- The Washington Times - Friday, April 19, 2013

Facing stiff outcry about election fraud, Venezuelan authorities agreed Friday to go forth with an audit of votes.

Opposition candidate Henrique Captriles, who lost in Sunday’s election to Nicolas Maduro, the late Hugo Chavez’s hand-picked socialist successor, said the audit will prove the he’s the rightfully elected president. The audit to be conducted by the nation’s electoral council will be confined to the 46 percent of the ballots that were not scrutinized on the eve of the election, the Associated Press reported.

“We are where we want to be,” Mr. Capriles said after the announcement, according to AP. “I think I will have the universe of voters needed to get where I want to be.”

The National Electoral Council officially ruled Monday that Mr. Maduro was the new president. But accusations of fraud continued from within and outside the country.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry told a congressional panel Wednesday that reports of fraud were of concern and that he favored a recount, given the slim margin — an estimated 260,000 votes — that granted Mr. Maduro the win.

In response, Mr. Maduro told Mr. Kerry stay out of Venezuela’s elections, according to several news outlets.

Mr. Maduro’s inauguration is scheduled for Friday, AP reported. A petition to the country’s highest court to halt his inauguration was rejected Thursday.



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