Published: Oct 08, 2012 6:10 AM EDT
Updated: Oct 08, 2012 10:15 AM EDT

CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) - President Hugo Chavez won re-election Sunday, defeating challenger Henrique Capriles and gaining six more years to cement his legacy and press ahead with his crusade for socialism in Venezuela.
 
With about 90 percent of votes counted, Chavez had more than 54 percent of the vote, and Capriles had 45 percent, National Electoral Council president Tibisay Lucena said. She said 81 percent of the nearly 19 million registered voters cast ballots, one of the largest turnouts in years.
 
It was Chavez's third re-election victory in nearly 14 years in office, though by a smaller margin than in 2006, when he won 63 percent of the votes.
 
Fireworks exploded in downtown Caracas, and Chavez's supporters celebrated waving flags and jumping for joy outside the presidential palace.
 
Chavez won more than 7.4 million votes, beating Capriles by more than 1.2 million votes, Lucena said.