Venezuelan opposition leader Henrique Capriles, who says recent presidential elections won by the ruling Socialist Party were marred by fraud and voter intimidation, demanded Monday that new elections be called, and said he would take his case to the Supreme Court. Speaking to reporters, Mr. Capriles acknowledged that arguing before the Supreme Court will be an uphill battle given its justices support the ruling party, but said it’s a necessary, final “local” step before he presents his case to international tribunals. “I have no doubt this will have to end up in international courts,” he said.
Official results from the April 14 voting handed the victory to Nicolas Maduro, a 50-year-old former union boss who was a close confidant of the late Hugo Chavez. Mr. Capriles came in second place, but the margin of victory was tighter than expected–less than two percentage points–and the 40-year-old opposition candidate is refusing to concede defeat, citing claims of voter fraud.
The Capriles-led opposition first demanded a full recount of the ballots. But election authorities, which support the Maduro administration, have agreed only to do a partial recount. Mr. Capriles said he’s therefore going to ignore the partial recount planned for next month. Instead, he said he will focus on filing a lawsuit alleging voter fraud to the Supreme Court sometime during the next week.
The opposition’s ultimate goal is to have the election results nullified so a new election can be called.