Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

DEBATE

What Next for Gaza? Lasting Ceasefire Agreed After 50 Days of War (part 2)

Read more

DEBATE

What Next for Gaza? Lasting Ceasefire Agreed After 50 Days of War

Read more

FOCUS

Video: Milan is starting point for Syrian refugees’ European odyssey

Read more

MIDDLE EAST MATTERS

Terrorist ransoms: Should governments pay up for hostages?

Read more

ENCORE!

Kristen Stewart and Juliette Binoche star in 'Clouds of Sils Maria'

Read more

WEB NEWS

India: journalist launches "Rice Bucket Challenge"

Read more

WEB NEWS

Russian aid convoy: Mission accomplished?

Read more

WEB NEWS

Actor Orlando Jones lauches 'Bullet Bucket Challenge'

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

'Macron Economics'

Read more

  • UN probe accuses Syrian regime, Islamists of ‘crimes against humanity’

    Read more

  • French unemployment rises 0.8% in July to record high

    Read more

  • France’s Hollande puts young ex-banker in top economy post

    Read more

  • Video: Iraq’s Yazidis flee to spiritual capital of Lalish

    Read more

  • Video: Milan is starting point for Syrian refugees’ European odyssey

    Read more

  • Airstrikes and Assad - Obama’s military conundrum in Syria

    Read more

  • IMF’s Lagarde investigated in French corruption case

    Read more

  • American journalist held captive in Syria arrives in US

    Read more

  • In pictures: The ministers in France's new government

    Read more

  • 'Lasting' ceasefire agreed for Gaza, Abbas says

    Read more

  • Far-right ‘Russian Jihad’ fighters cross into Ukraine

    Read more

  • American 'Islamic State fighter' killed in Syria

    Read more

  • Rebels 'shoot down' UN helicopter in South Sudan

    Read more

  • Air France pilots threaten September strike

    Read more

  • WHO seeks stricter regulation for e-cigarettes

    Read more

Americas

Venezuela's Maduro takes office despite protests

© AFP

Video by Marc EDWARDS

Text by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2013-04-20

The Venezuelan opposition boycotted the swearing-in on Friday of President-elect Nicolas Maduro, hand-picked by the late Hugo Chavez, as the ruling party strengthened its grip on power and thousands of 'Chavistas' packed the streets of Caracas.

Venezuela’s ruling party moved to cement its grip on power Friday, packing thousands of red-clad supporters into the streets outside the inauguration of President-elect Nicolas Maduro, late leader Hugo Chavez’s chosen successor.

On Thursday, the country’s highest court rejected a petition against Maduro’s inauguration, and he was sworn in as president the following day, taking oath of office in front of National Assembly speaker Diosdado Cabello.

"I swear it before the eternal memory of the supreme commander," he said recalling the late Hugo Chavez, who died of cancer on March 5 after 14 years in power. Maduro was then suddenly pushed aside by a youth in a red shirt who ran on stage during his inaugural address and grabbed the microphone.

The incident caused momentary confusion as national television coverage of the event briefly went off the air, returning after Maduro had regained his composure and the youth had been moved off stage. The newly-invested President continued his speech and said he would later speak to the disrupter.

Cheers broke out in the packed assembly as the presidential sash was placed over the 50-year-old Maduro, who was elected president Sunday in snap elections to replace Chavez,

Close Chavez allies including Presidents Raul Castro of Cuba and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of Iran watched the ceremony along with leaders from other Latin American countries who rallied around oil-rich Venezuela's new government.

Maduro, 50, was declared the winner of the election by a slim 267,000-vote margin out of 14.9 million ballots cast. That did not include more than 100,000 votes cast abroad, where more than 90 percent were cast for opposition candidate Henrique Capriles in an earlier election against Chavez last October.

Venezuelans voted on computers that issued paper receipts used to confirm the accuracy of the electronic vote. Authorities checked 54 percent of the electronic vote against the paper receipts and registers containing the names, signatures and fingerprints of each voter.

Yet, the opposition still disputed the results. Henrique Capriles said the audit announced Thursday night will prove he won the presidency, while government officials appear to be confident there will be no surprises after the weeks-long audit that's to begin days after Maduro's swearing-in.

Hundreds of red-clad Chavistas marched through Caracas ahead of the inauguration, shouting and blowing trumpets, led by riders on horseback and even massive bulls yoked in pairs. But the showing, at least by mid-morning according to the AFP, was a faint echo of the rallies that drew tens of thousands to the streets during the Chavez era.

Fireworks fired by Maduro supporters boomed across the city in celebration but the fainter sound of pots being banged in protest could also be heard, recalling that his narrow victory had been challenged by the opposition.
 

(FRANCE 24 with wires)

Date created : 2013-04-19

  • VENEZUELA

    Venezuela to expand audit of election vote

    Read more

  • VENEZUELA

    Opposition rally cancelled after post-election violence

    Read more

  • VENEZUELA

    Deadly post-election violence hits Venezuela

    Read more

COMMENT(S)