By FRANK BAJAK and MICHAEL WEISSENSTEIN
CARACAS, Venezuela – Venezuela’s electoral council said Thursday it would audit the 46 percent vote that was not scrutinized election night in a major concession to opposition candidate Henrique Capriles, who said he accepted the decision because he believed the votes stolen from him were to be found among those votes.
Capriles had demanded a full vote-by-vote recount, and said he would insist that every single vote receipt be counted and compared to voter registries as well as to voting machine tally sheets.
He has maintained that Sunday’s election, which the National Electoral Council had declared won by Hugo Chavez’s heir Nicolas Maduro by 262,00000 votes out of 14.9 million cast, was stolen from him through intimidation and other abuses.
Electoral council president Tibisay Lucena’s announcement came a day after the Supreme Court chief said the full vote-by-vote recount Capriles had demanded was not legal
Lucena said the council would begin auditing the results of 400 machines per day beginning next week and that it would take a month.
Maduro, who was sworn in as acting president after Chavez died last month, was meeting with South American leaders in Lima on Thursday night.
He was to be inaugurated on Friday.
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