Venezuela high court nixes election challenge

CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) — Venezuela’s highest court has rejected opposition leader Henrique Capriles’ challenge to the official outcome of the April 14 election that he narrowly lost to President Nicolas Maduro.

The court on Wednesday Capriles attempt to void the results was “inadmissible.” He alleged widespread fraud in a vote he officially lost by a 1.5-percentage-point margin.

Court President Gladys Gutierrez said Capriles’ challenge “trivialized” democratic debate and sought to undermine the credibility of public institutions.

All branches of Venezuela’s government were firmly in the hands of the ruling socialists long before the late President Hugo Chavez died of cancer in March.

Maduro was hand-picked by Chavez to succeed him but squandered a double-digit lead in the campaign’s last weeks as doubts increased about his ability to manage a troubled economy.

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