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Hugo Chavez faces toughest challenge yet to his leadership in Sunday's poll

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Hugo Chavez faces toughest challenge yet to his leadership in Sunday's poll


Campaigning Hugo Chavez style…
Venezuela’s president is facing his biggest electoral test on Sunday as he pits himself against a young challenger in his bid for a new six-year term.

Having made what appears to have been a remarkable recovery from cancer, the 58-year-old is intent on consolidating his self-styled socialist revolution.

Addressing supporters in Caracas on the last official campaign day, Chavez urged everyone to turn out and vote as soon as they could on polling day.

The former military officer has nurtured an almost cult following among Venezuela’s poor by lavishing oil revenues on numerous social programmes.

But despite all his slick moves, pollsters are predicting a tight run contest. His 40-year-old rival, Henrique Capriles has undertaken a marathon eight-month campaign promising jobs, safer streets and an end to cronyism.

He has also managed to unite the normally fractured opposition providing it with its best chance at the presidency since Chavez’s election in 1998.

During his last support-rallying speech after a whirlwind tour of northern and central Venezuela, Capriles accused Chavez of no longer being interested in change saying “this government’s time is up”.

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