Chavez win in Venezuela sets new challenges
CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) — Venezuelans awakened on Monday to the prospect of another six years under President Hugo Chavez as the leftist president's supporters celebrated his victory against a youthful rival and a galvanized opposition pledged to build on its gains.
Chavez emerged from Sunday's vote both strengthened and sobered, having reconfirmed his masterful political touch but also winning by his tightest margin yet. Challenger Henrique Capriles said while conceding defeat that his campaign had launched a new political force and that he would keep working for change.
The 58-year-old leader now has a freer hand to push for an even bigger state role in the economy and deepen friendships with U.S. rivals. Meanwhile, he's under pressure to address nuts-and-bolts governance issues such as soaring crime rates, power blackouts and double-digit inflation.
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