Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez said he’s not declaring victory yet ahead of Oct. 7 elections and his supporters must turn out massively to assure a large win over challenger Henrique Capriles Radonski.
“I’m not declaring victory yet, we’re going to win, but we have to give it all we have until the end,” Chavez said today on state television at a rally in Monagas state.
Capriles is ahead in several polls while trailing by as much as 15 percentage points in others as he tries to unseat Chavez from almost 14 years in power. Capriles, a 40-year-old former governor of Miranda, has played up his youth and fitness to offer a contrast to the condition of his 58-year-old opponent who is coming off three operations related to an unnamed cancer in the past 15 months.
Chavez, who spoke at the rally in Monagas state for about 40 minutes before thousands of supporters, said he accepted criticism of his government and that middle class voters should “carefully consider” their vote and support his revolution.
“Some people people may be frustrated with some of the failures of our government. They may be upset that a road wasn’t paved, that the lights went out, or that they haven’t been given a house,” said Chavez. “That could be true in many cases, and I accept the criticism. In my next presidential period from 2013 to 2019, I promise better efficiency.”
Capriles, who spoke at a rally today in central Guarico state, said he would improve electricity infrastructure that causes frequent blackouts and raise the minimum wage to 2,500 bolivars ($581.40) a month if elected, according to a statement sent from his campaign headquarters.
“Do you want a president who serves you or one who talks to you?” Capriles said at the rally “The time to advance has arrived. Fourteen years has been enough.”