Chavez calls rival after victory in close elections
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Chavez calls rival after victory in close elections

Challenger Henrique Capriles asks for 'respect and recognition of the six and a half million people who voted for him'

Supporters of Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez celebrate his reelection outside the Miraflores presidential palace on Sunday (photo credit: AP/Ramon Espinosa)
Supporters of Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez celebrate his reelection outside the Miraflores presidential palace on Sunday (photo credit: AP/Ramon Espinosa)

CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) — Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez had a phone conversation with his election rival a day after defeating him at the polls.

Chavez said in a message on Twitter on Monday that the conversation with Henrique Capriles was “pleasant.” Chavez’s message also said: “I call for National Unity, respecting our differences!”

Armando Briquet, Capriles’ campaign manager, confirmed that Chavez had called the opposition leader.

“For the first time Chavez called him by his name,” Briquet said at a news conference.

Throughout the campaign, Chavez called Capriles, a 40-year-old grandson of Holocaust survivors, by disparaging names, among them “the Yankees’ candidate,” ”the rich guys’ candidate” and “the candidate of the past.”

Chavez won Sunday’s vote by a margin of about 11 percentage points, according to nearly complete results.

Briquet said that during the conversation, Capriles called for “respect and recognition of the six and a half million people who voted for him.”

Capriles also wished the president good health after his yearlong cancer treatment, Briquet said. Chavez said in June that he had undergone tests that found no sign of cancer.

Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.

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