CARACAS - Nicolas Maduro was sworn in as Venezuela's president on Friday at a ceremony attended by leaders from Iran to Brazil after a decision to widen an electronic audit of the vote took some of the heat out of a dispute over his election.
Maduro, a bus driver-turned-foreign minister who became the late Hugo Chavez's chosen successor, narrowly beat opposition challenger Henrique Capriles in the election last Sunday.
Capriles refused to accept the result, alleged widespread irregularities, demanded a full recount and called his supporters onto the streets in protest.
Eight people were killed in post-election violence and Maduro blamed the deaths on Capriles, although the opposition says Maduro allies staged some incidents to distract attention from the dispute over balloting.
Maduro took the oath of office on Friday alongside a large framed photo of the socialist Chavez, who led Venezuela for 14 years before losing a battle against cancer last month.
"I swear, on the eternal legacy of our founding fathers ... on the eternal memory of our supreme commander, that I will uphold this constitution," Maduro said.
In an embarrassing breach of security, a young man in a red jacket ran up to the podium, pushed the president out of the way and shouted "Nicolas, my name is Yendrick, please help me," into the microphone. He was tackled by bodyguards.
"Security has failed completely. They could have shot me up here," said Maduro upon resuming his speech.