Chavez fights to stay Venezuela president

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Chavez fights to stay Venezuela president

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Venezuela’s President Hugo Chavez is facing the tightest election race since he came to power at the turn of the century.

Bidding for a fourth term of six years, the 58-year-old has called on voters to help him extend his socialist revolution.

While most polls leading up to Sunday’s election have put the radical-leftist in front, his more youthful moderate challenger Henrique Capriles has been catching up.

The 40-year-old has promised to turnaround the struggling economy and tackle high inflation.

Venezuela is a major oil producer. But while Chavez has used much of the country’s wealth to fund social programmes, Capriles says production has declined because of a lack of investment.

Around 140,000 soldiers have been guarding polling booths up and down the country and the election is making use of a computerised voting system.

But some Venezuelans are nervous that if Capriles were to win, the transition period after 14 years of autocratic rule by Chavez could be delicate at best.