White House says audit of Venezuela election is necessary step

WASHINGTON, April 15 Mon Apr 15, 2013 1:24pm EDT

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WASHINGTON, April 15 (Reuters) - The White House said on Monday that auditing Venezuela's close election that was narrowly won by Nicholas Maduro, the late socialist leader Hugo Chavez's chosen successor, was a necessary and prudent step.

Maduro edged out opposition challenger Henrique Capriles with 50.7 percent of the votes, according to election board returns. Capriles took 49.1 percent.

"Given the tightness of the result - around 1 percent of the votes cast separate the candidates - the opposition candidate and at least one member of the electoral council have called for a 100 percent audit of the results," White House spokesman Jay Carney told a news briefing.

"This appears an important, prudent and necessary step to ensure that all Venezuelans have confidence in these results," Carney said. "In our view rushing to a decision in these circumstances would be inconsistent with the expectations of Venezuelans for a clear and democratic outcome."

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