Hugo Chavez allies top governors’ races

CARACAS — Allies of President Hugo Chavez won a sweeping victory in the country’s gubernatorial elections Sunday, capturing at least 20 of 23 states, the country’s electoral chief said.

Opposition leader Henrique Capriles held on for a reelection win in Miranda state, one of three opposition candidates declared winners .

The opposition had held governorships in eight states, and it lost in five of them, according to results announced by National Electoral Council President Tibisay Lucena.


Jorge Rodriguez, campaign manager for the pro-Chavez camp, hailed the victory saying it represented ‘‘the map painted red’’ — the color of Chavez’s socialist party.

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The elections were seen as a key test of whether Chavez’s movement can endure if he leaves the political stage.

The vote was the first time in Chavez’s nearly 14-year-old presidency that he has been unable to actively campaign.

He hasn’t spoken publicly since undergoing cancer surgery Tuesday in Cuba.

Vice President Nicolas Maduro urged supporters on Sunday to vote for Chavez’s allies.