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WASHINGTON (AP) - The Obama administration is refusing to accept the official results of Venezuela's weekend presidential election, which gave victory to the protege of the country's late leftist leader Hugo Chavez.

The State Department said Tuesday that a full recount of the vote and an investigation into alleged irregularities were needed, given the close tally that almost evenly divided the country. On Monday, the U.S. had called for a full recount before results were certified but the election commission went ahead with certification without one.

The State Department said it was "difficult to understand" why the commission certified ruling party candidate Nicolas Maduro as the winner in the absence of a recount, which challenger Henrique Capriles is demanding.

It also condemned post-election violence that has killed at least seven people.

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