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The spectre of Chavez dominates Venezuela as election looms

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The spectre of Chavez dominates Venezuela as election looms
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Ballot boxes at the ready as the legacy of Hugo Chavez comes under the microscope when Venezuela goes to the polls on Sunday.

The commander’s anointed successor, Vice-President Nicolas Maduro, leads in the polls but he faces a stern challenge in shape of Henrique Capriles who is campaigning for change.

Official campaigns ended on Thursday with Maduro, draped in a Venezuelan flag, stomping round the streets of Caracas calling on everyone to follow “Commander Chavez as the spiritual guide of the fatherland.”

Argentine footballer Diego Maradona, a friend of Chavez, lent his support to Maduro.

Opposition candidate Henrique Capriles is trying to focus on the issues and steer away from the cult of Chavez, but Chavez is present in every sphere of Venezuelan life.

Capriles wants a Brazil-style economic model that mixes pro-business policies backed by strong social welfare projects.

Such is the passion surrounding the vote that security forces are taking no chances. As many as 141,000 troops will be deployed to ensure a smooth and peaceful election. Guards will also protect and transport election material until the count is complete.