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Venezuelan elections kick off with clashes

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Venezuelan elections kick off with clashes


Venezuelan soldiers fire tear gas at opposition candidates as campaigning for the country’s legislative elections gets under way.

The poll will test the support of President Hugo Chavez as recession bites and crime soars.

The parliament accused the candidates of trying to enter the building.

“Simply put, we were welcomed with tear gas bombs, not words, by a group of the national guard who are obviously following the orders of the National Assembly. Obviously we reject that but we are staying on the street.”

The opposition are expected to make gains after boycotting elections five years ago leaving the parliament in the hands of Chavez supporters.

Chavez, who faces a presidential election in 2012, has called the campaign “Operation Demolition.”

After more than 11 years in office Chavez has polarised the country between backers of his policies favouring the poor and those who consider the ex-soldier as nothing more than a dictator.

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