CARACAS -- President Hugo Chavez's United Socialist Party of Venezuela, or PSUV, won a majority of the seats in the National Assembly, but it was unable to garner the two-thirds majority it sought, preliminary election results show.
The opposition, which has not had a presence in the legislature since declaring an election boycott in 2005, said it won 52% of the vote in Sunday's elections.
The districting system in the states, however, will keep the opposition from having a majority in the 165-seat assembly.
The PSUV won 90 seats, the opposition MUD alliance won 59 and the opposition PPT party won two seats, election officials said in the first bulletin on results.
About 98 percent of the ballots have been counted, National Electoral Council, or CNE, chief Tibisay Lucena said.
Turnout in the legislative elections totaled 66.45 percent of registered voters, Lucena said.
"Well, my beloved countrymen, it's been a great day and we have won a solid victory. Enough to continue expanding Bolivarian Socialism and Democracy," Chavez said in a posting on his Twitter account.
"We must continue strengthening the Revolution! A new Victory of the People. I congratulate you all," the president said in a message posted minutes after the preliminary results were released.
Opposition leaders also claimed victory in the elections.
"We are the majority, we have 52 percent of the vote," MUD leader Ramon Guillermo Aveledo said.
The CNE "has left out a crucial fact" in not pointing out that the alliance won the popular vote, Aveledo said.
The PSUV acknowledged that it failed to win the 110 seats it wanted in the unicameral National Assembly.
"The goal was 110 legislators. It was not possible for us to achieve it, but we nevertheless won 95 deputies, a solid majority, a convincing victory," PSUV campaign chief Aristobulo Isturiz said.