The Supreme Court on Wednesday rejected a series of legal challenges to the narrow election victory of President Nicolás Maduro, closing a chapter in what has been a bitter aftermath of the vote to replace the country’s popular longtime leader, Hugo Chávez. The court also ordered the opposition candidate, Henrique Capriles, who lost to Mr. Maduro by one and a half percentage points, to pay a fine of $1,698 for insulting government authority by challenging the election results and accusing the judicial system of bias in favor of the government. It said that was the maximum fine allowed. The court also asked the national prosecutor to open a criminal investigation of Mr. Capriles on charges of offending the authority of government institutions.
Mr. Capriles responded in a series of messages posted on his Twitter account, saying that he was being fined “for saying and defending the truth.” He added: “They do us an honor. We have unmasked these institutions and the people will make them change!”
Mr. Maduro defeated Mr. Capriles by 223,599 votes, out of nearly 15 million cast, in the April 14 election. Mr. Maduro was the handpicked successor of Mr. Chávez, a charismatic socialist who was president for 14 years until his death in March.
The closeness of the election was a shock to both sides, and Mr. Capriles refused to accept the results, saying that he was the true winner — although his accusations seemed to rest on suspicions of widespread irregularities in the voting rather than clear proof of fraud. He called for a recount but refused to take part in the limited audit of electronic voting records carried out by the government, saying it was insufficient.