Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez won re-election to a new six-year term on Sunday, according to the national electoral council. Chavez, who is fighting cancer, beat challenger Henrique Capriles 54 percent to 45 percent, with 90 percent of the votes counted. This was his narrowest win in his 14 years in power, and Capriles' energetic campaign did much to unite Venezuela's fractured and often-squabbling opposition. The election is "a fundamental turning point" in Chavez's rule, Michael Shifter of the Inter-American Dialogue institute tells The New York Times. From now on, Chavez is "going to have to deal with a very different society than he dealt with in his last term, a society that's awakened and more organized and more confident." Voter turnout was an unusually high 80 percent.
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