Venezuela Elects Chávez's Handpicked Succesor Nicolás Maduro

PHOTO: Nicolas Maduro won a special election to replace Venezuelas deceased president Hugo Chavez. Maduro was Chavezs handpicked heir.  He relied heavily on the socialist leaders image throughout his presidential campaign.

Ramon Espinosa/AP Photo & Luis Acosta/AFP/Getty Images

Nicolás Maduro has won Venezuela's presidential election, giving the ruling socialist party another six years at the helm of the oil rich nation.

Last year, during Hugo Chávez re-election campaign, Vice President Maduro repeatedly said that he "never wanted to be" Venezuela's president.

But his fate changed drastically in December of last year, when Chávez headed to Cuba for his fourth cancer operation.

In an emotional message, broadcast live on national television, Chávez told Venezuelan voters that in case something woudl happen to him, o back Maduro as Venezuela's next president. Chávez argued that Maduro was the best man to lead Venezuela's socialist revolution.

In this election, which took place just five weeks afer Chávez's passing, Maduro competed against Henrique Capriles, an energetic state governor, who gave the Venezuelan opposition its best showing in 14 years.

Maduro campaiged heavily on Chávez's image, referring to himself constantly as the "son" of the former Venezuelan president. He accused Capriles of being a "burgeois sellout," who would cancel the many social programs put in place by Chávez, and used public funds, to finance his campaign and mobilize thousands of voters on election day.

This strategy seems to have worked out for Maduro, who received 50.66% of the votes on Sunday, according to Venezuela's National Electoral Council. Henrique Capriles received 49.07% of the votes as of 11:15pm Caracas time.

But governing will be a much toughter task for th 52-year-old Maduro, who must find ways to solve food shortages, power outages, and steep inflation rates.

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— Henrique Capriles R. (@hcapriles) April 8, 2014 El pueblo tiene todo el derecho de protestar por los miles de problemas sin solución en ntro país!Nadie le puede quitar su derecho!