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Venezuela to Hold Vote to Choose Chavez Successor April 14

Venezuela will hold a special presidential election to select Hugo Chavez’s successor on April 14, the National Electoral Council said.

Candidates have until the afternoon of March 11 to register, council President Tibisay Lucena said in televised remarks. Council members decided on the time frames today after holding a minute of silence for Chavez, who died March 5, she said.

“The republic is going through difficult times,” she said. “It’s fundamental to recognize the historic relevance of the path we’re about to go down, and its importance to the stability and strengthening of our democracy.”

Chavez’s handpicked heir, acting President Nicolas Maduro, will run. The opposition will rally around a single candidate, Miranda state Governor Henrique Capriles Radonski, the opposition alliance, known as the Democratic Unity Table, said in an e-mailed statement today.

Capriles thanked the opposition for its proposal in a comment on his Twitter account, adding that he will speak publicly about his decision in “coming hours.”

The governor in the October presidential election lost to Chavez by 11 percentage points. Maduro enjoys a 46.4 percent to 34.3 percent advantage over Capriles, according to a survey taken Jan. 31 to Feb. 20 by Caracas-based polling company Datanalisis. The poll has a margin of error of 2.4 percentage points.

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