CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) – Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez said some voters were still in line voting Sunday night, and he called for calm as the nation awaits results of the presidential election.
“There are still people voting in some centers,” Chavez said in a phone call to his campaign leaders broadcast live on state television. “Let’s wait for the results with patience, calm.”
The president of Venezuela’s electoral council said earlier that voting stations would remain open past the scheduled closing time of 6 p.m. where there were voters who had not cast ballots, as is the norm under the country’s electoral rules.
The official, Tibisay Lucena, didn’t say how many voting stations still had voters waiting. Nor did she say for how long the polling stations might remain open.
Chavez faced the stiffest challenge of his political life from challenger Henrique Capriles in the election.
Capriles complained via Twitter that electoral authorities should close voting stations because most lacked lines.
Dozens of red-shirted Chavez loyalists on motorcycles cruised downtown Caracas, and Robert Flores, the leader of one band, said they were trying to prevent voting stations from closing if some people hadn’t voted yet. A Capriles campaign spokesman called for the motorcyclists to be banned from the streets.
Flores led a group of about 200 Chavez loyalists who showed up at a polling stating in the Santa Teresa neighborhood shortly after 6 p.m. Sunday, when polling stations were supposed to close if there were no voters in line. Soldiers and police resolved a dispute at the Santa Teresa station about whether voters remained.
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