Capriles said his camp had counted 3,200 campaign violations during the day and that his internal count proves he won. He demanded a complete recount.
“The people have expressed themselves but the results do not reflect the reality of the country,” he said. “Mr. Maduro, if you were an illegitimate leader before this process you are even less legitimate now. . . . The big loser today is you and what you represent.”
Maduro said presidents in the United States and Mexico had won by narrower margins and were allowed to govern in peace.
But the tight race was a rude shock for the administration. Chávez had defeated Capriles by 11 percentage points just six months ago, and Maduro went into the race leading many polls by double digits.
Maduro said his campaign had been the victim of a “psychological war” and shadowy mercenaries who were trying to spark violence and sabotage the electrical system. He also said it was the first vote in 14 years that took place without “father” Chávez.