CARACAS: Venezuela will hold a presidential election on April 14, officials said on Saturday, as acting President Nicolas Maduro tries to benefit from an emotional outpouring for his late mentor, Hugo Chavez, and win his own term in office, reports international media.
Maduro, a physically imposing former union leader who served as foreign minister and vice president under Chavez, has vowed to keep Chavez’s self-styled socialist revolution alive.
He will likely face off against Henrique Capriles, 40, the centrist governor of Miranda state. Capriles, who lost to Chavez in a vote last October, thanked Venezuela’s opposition coalition on Saturday for backing him as its candidate, but stopped short of explicitly accepting the nomination.
Opinion polls have shown Maduro as the likely winner, but Chavez’s opponents said they wanted a chance to end “Chavismo” at the voting booth.
“We want change. We are tired of the Chavez era. It’s been 14 years,” said Yesenia Herrera, 33, a cook at a Chinese restaurant in an affluent quarter of Caracas.
Maduro was sworn in as acting president in Congress on Friday and handed the red, yellow and blue presidential sash.
“I asked (the election authority) to comply with legal and constitutional obligations and immediately call elections,” Maduro, 50, told Congress as he cemented his position as heir-in-waiting.