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Chavez fights to stay Venezuela president


Venezuela

Chavez fights to stay Venezuela president

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.

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