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Last Updated: Friday, 27 August, 2004, 15:06 GMT 16:06 UK
Venezuela ratifies Chavez victory
Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez
The results mean Mr Chavez should remain in office until January 2007
Electoral authorities in Venezuela have confirmed President Hugo Chavez's victory in the referendum on his rule held earlier this month.

Final results said that 59.25% of those voting backed Mr Chavez, while 40.74% voted against him.

The opposition has contested the result of the referendum, alleging that there was widespread vote-rigging.

However, an audit of voting machines by international observers found no evidence of fraud.

The electoral council's figures show that 5,800,629 people voted to keep Mr Chavez in office and 3,989,008 voted to oust him.

There was a large turnout for the 15 August vote, in which Venezuelans were asked whether Mr Chavez should serve out the remaining two-and-a-half years of his term.

Had he lost, fresh presidential elections would have been called within 30 days.

The referendum was called after the opposition collected signatures from 20% of the population - a recall mechanism inserted into the constitution by Mr Chavez in 1999.

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