The main candidates in the Venezuelan election, acting President Maduro and opposition candidate Henrique Capriles, both officially began their campaigns this week.
The election will take place on April 14 and will decide the replacement for Chavez.
Crime is one of the major talking points surrounding the vote. During Hugo Chavez’s 14 years in power, murder rates in Venezuela more than quadrupled. Maduro has said he will make combating crime a top priority if elected. “We will go to the slums with our chests bare,” Maduro stated last month. “We will tell these youths to stop killing, to put down their guns.”
While also focusing on crime, Capriles is addressing concerns such as inflation and aims to turn back policies that included the seizure of more than 1,000 companies and assets since 1999.
Chavez defeated Capriles by 11% in an election in October, in the closest election Chavez ever faced.
However, Mr. Maduro is set to easily win power. His polling figures give him a 14% lead. “He was chosen by Chavez and that’s enough for us,” explained Eluterio, a Chavez supporter.
Maduro knows it too. He is never pictured without an image of Chavez in the background and all of his speeches focus on the former Venezuelan leader rather than himself. Brazil’s former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva recently appeared on Venezuelan state television to express her opinion that Maduro is capable of continuing Chavez’s socialist work.