President Hugo Chavez won re-election by a wide margin, according to partial results, giving him another six years to solidify his self-styled social revolution and further his crusade to counter US influence.
With 78 per cent of voting stations reporting, Chavez had 61 per cent to 38 per cent for challenger Manuel Rosales, said Tibisay Lucena, head of the country's elections council.
Chavez had nearly 6 million votes versus 3.7 million for Rosales, according to the partial tally.
Minutes after the results were announced, Chavez appeared on the balcony of the presidential palace singing the national anthem.
Even before polls closed on Sunday, hundreds of Chavez supporters celebrated in the streets, setting off fireworks and cruising downtown Caracas in caravans, honking horns and shouting, "Chavez isn't going anywhere!"
A top Rosales adviser, Teodoro Petkoff, said yesterday evening that the voting process "was carried out in a satisfactory manner."
He said some irregularities had occurred but that most were resolved. Another member of the Rosales camp had accused pro-Chavez soldiers of reopening closed polling.
The vote was being monitored by observers including the European Union, the Carter Center and the Organisation of American States.
Since he first won office in 1998, Chavez has increasingly dominated all branches of government and his allies now control congress, state offices and the judiciary.
He has called US President George W Bush the devil, allied himself with Iran and influenced elections across the region.