By Sarah Barchus
Hugo Chavez defeated his opponent, State Governor Henrique Capriles, in the Venezuelan presidential election Sunday, winning the office for his third consecutive term since 1999, the Cable News Network reported.
Hugo Chavez received 55 percent of the vote against Capriles's 45 percent, winning the election by his narrowest margin yet, the Star Tribune reported.
Voters began lining up at polls before dawn, increasing the turnout from 75 percent in 2006 to 81 percent, the Star Tribune reported. Tibisay Lucena, president of the National Electoral Council, said the turnout was one of the highest in decades, CNN reported.
With the victory, Chavez secured another six years to convert Venezuela into a socialist state by expanding the state's economic role and continuing populist programs as he promised during his campaign, the Star Tribune reported.
Capriles advocated for more private investment and less governmental controls on the economy, the Star Tribune reported. Capriles congratulated Chavez for his victory even though he said Chavez used revenue from the oil industry to help finance his campaign, CNN reported.
Venezuela is the United State's fourth largest oil supplier, CNN reported. However, Chavez is likely to strengthen Venezuela's ties with U.S. rivals and continue to influence Latin America's left-leaning governments, to the U.S.'s frustration.