Latin American Program in the News: Chavez Heir to Be Sworn in as Vote Dispute Roils Investors

Bloomberg

Apr 19, 2013

Nicolas Maduro will be sworn in as Venezuela’s president today as a dispute over the election and his post-campaign rhetoric undermines investor confidence in how the government will manage the world’s largest oil reserves.

In the five days since the National Electoral Council named Hugo Chavez’s political heir the winner of the April 14 vote, Maduro has threatened Spanish energy company Repsol SA and accused opposition leader Henrique Capriles Radonski of inciting a coup. Political clashes have left eight people dead, the government said, and the electoral commission announced yesterday it would complete an electronic audit of the 15 million votes cast.

Maduro’s victory margin, the narrowest in 45 years, gives him little room for maneuver to address accelerating inflation, sparse supermarket shelves and slowing growth, said CynthiaArnson, Latin American program director at the Wilson International Center for Scholars. Venezuelan bonds fell the most since 1998 on April 16 as investors bet a protracted political crisis will undermine the economy and efforts to use foreign partners to turn around a slump in oil output during the 14-year rule of Chavez, who died March 5.

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